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Sierra Leone becomes latest country to join Fifa's Football for Schools programme

Children playing football   -  
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Sierra Leone

Boys and girls in Sierra Leone are the latest to benefit from FIFA’s Football for Schools (F4S) programme.

Fifty physical education teachers from the country’s 16 districts took part in the inaugural event in the city of Makeni.

They spent two days with FIFA coaches learning the fundamentals of the programme under the guidance of F4s experts, before putting theory into practice with 125 children on the final day.

“Football is very important for the country as a whole and for schools especially because these young children, we build them up to develop the future of the country,” said instructor, Diego Kamara.

“If we can excel well in football, it can be a boost to our country and represent us internationally,” he added.

Sierra Leone is the 107th country to join the programme which aims to make the game more accessible to young people by incorporating football activities into the education system.

One of the students who took part in the training session, Haja Bangura, said she hopes to play football in the future.

“It helps us how to learn to move our bodies and it unites us. When my friend and I play, it brings us together because somewhere, someday, we're both going to make it,” she said.

George Conteh, the father of one of the students, said sport can play a crucial role in the lives of young children.

“Sport is very important to me and my family because I know what I achieve and get from it. When I was 15, I lost my parents and through sport, I was able to get people around me to help me,” he said.

The vice-president of Sierra Leone FA, Harold Nat-Johnson, said when he took office, one of his goals was to youth football and get schools involved.

“That is why we kept knocking on the doors of FIFA and today, we are the happiest people here because we know it's a landmark and we intend to continue,” he said.

Supported by UNESCO, Football for Schools contributes to the education, development, and empowerment of around 700 million children worldwide.

The programme was launched in Puerto Rico in 2019.

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