Monday 31 July 2023, 22:00

Kenyan schools to embrace FIFA Football for Schools Programme

  • Initiative was launched in Kenya between 28 and 30 July

  • Country becomes 73rd to sign up

  • Programme expected to be rolled out across nearly 2,000 Kenyan schools

The word harambee is intrinsically linked to Kenya. The term, which means “all pull together” in Swahili, has been adopted as the official motto of the East African nation, where teamwork is very much a way of life, and sport is no exception in this regard. Indeed, in a symbolic step, the Kenya men’s national football team have come to be known as the Harambee Stars.

It was against this backdrop that the FIFA Football for Schools (F4S) Programme was launched in Kakamenga between 28 and 30 July, with support, cooperation and solidarity being very much the watchwords across three action-packed days. Indeed, such values will be key in helping to make football more accessible to boys and girls in Kenya, while at the same time enhancing the country’s education provision by instilling the values of football, which is the objective of the F4S Programme.

The first two days were devoted to the training of 50 coach educators hailing from all 47 of Kenya’s counties. A series of theory and practical sessions were led by experienced trainers in an atmosphere where hard work took centre stage. The coach educators were joined by around 100 children on the final day in a celebratory session that allowed them to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice. The whole event was hailed a success.

“Developing football amongst our youth and women remains a key element of our football development programme. We believe that this initiative will allow us to give children across the country the chance to receive coaching from qualified staff right from the start of their development cycle,” explained Barry Otieno, General Secretary of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

While Kakamenga was the starting point on this journey, the 50 newly trained coach educators are now tasked with rolling the programme out in their respective regions. In the long term, almost 2,000 Kenyan schools are expected to enjoy the numerous benefits of the initiative. F4S fosters a positive and passionate approach towards the sport, while also instilling practical education and development skills in its young participants. As if that weren’t enough, the programme also promotes the identification of youth talent.

“The amazing thing about this programme is just how practical it is. Teachers are given access to a mobile application, through which they’re able to teach the children specific life skills,” said Fatimata Sidibé, the Director of the Football for Schools Programme. “The app contains training sessions and animations, which serve to both introduce pupils to football and teach them life skills.”

Run in conjunction with the FKF, the project will also see footballs and training equipment distributed to primary schools across the country. “The schools lack qualified staff to work with the children, while there’s also a shortage of footballs and equipment,” stated Eliud Wambua, a representative from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, who added, “This programme gives the children a chance to showcase their potential.”

After all, that too is part of what harambee is all about. In Kenya, it is still referred to as an “unwritten law of generosity”, and the F4S Programme is out to ensure that it becomes a law that catches on.