Wednesday 18 May 2022, 08:00

Football for Schools Programme rolled out in Djibouti

  • Football for Schools launches in Djibouti

  • Djibouti and Mauritania are the first African countries to have adopted the programme

  • Football for Schools puts football at the heart of social development

May has been a busy month for the Football for Schools Programme. Following launches in Guam, Guyana and Puerto Rico, it has touched down in Africa, with the FIFA Foundation organising a workshop in Djibouti on 9-12 May. Held in a relaxed atmosphere, the three-day event comprised classroom-based theory modules and practical sessions out on the pitch. An official launch ceremony for the Football for Schools programme was also held on the final day. Among those taking part was Côte d’Ivoire women’s national team coach and FIFA Legend Clementine Toure.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in Djibouti,” said Toure. “Many youngsters don’t have the chance to express themselves. Playing football at school allows children to develop their team spirit. It brings them together, lets them share in an experience and develop their self-control.” Those are the very goals of Football for Schools. Developed in collaboration with UNESCO, the initiative seeks to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of nearly 700 million children worldwide. It also strives to make football more accessible to boys and girls around the globe by making football an integral part of the school system. “As a PE teacher and football coach, I face this challenge all the time,” said workshop participant Fathia Galab. “I find it especially difficult to get young girls out of their homes and on to the football pitch. Fortunately, school can do that for us. It gives them the chance to express themselves with a ball at their feet and lets us see a different side to them.”

Djibouti is certainly not lacking in talent. The women’s national team recently made the final round of the qualifiers for the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations before going down to Burundi. Meanwhile, the men’s national team won their first-round tie in the preliminaries for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, something they have only achieved once before, in the qualifiers for South Africa 2010. Hope is definitely stirring in this part of Africa. “This programme is coming to Djibouti at just the right time,” said Souleiman Hassan Waberi, the president of the Djiboutian Football Federation. “It’s an initiative that complements what we’ve already been doing for the last few years. We’re going to keep on working to make a success of things. Our teachers and instructors are now well equipped to supervise students and organise tournaments, and I’m sure that Djibouti will make the most of this programme.”