Schools Need Sport
By Annabel Ross
The wife of Tanzanian High Commissioner in London, Mrs Joyce Kallaghe, appeared very relaxed discussing the advantages of playing football at last week’s press conference for the ACE Africa and Future Stars Academy (FSA) Football League in Arusha, “If the education system is serious, it needs to include sports in the daily curriculum of every school. Sport stimulates the mind and helps the children to learn and gives them stability and confidence” she said.
The press conference was launching the “Ace Africa Future Stars Football League” which aims to bring quality football training and sporting excellence to some of the poorest and most disadvantaged children in Tanzania.
Also on the panel was Safarihub’s Director, Navraj Hans who was supporting the logistics of the project and, being a Tanzania National Rally Champion and sports fanatic himself, likes to see the bigger picture, “Putting sport on the curriculum will help achieve the development which is much needed in our country. This project could eventually produce the future Tanzania Premiere League players.”
Back Row: Alfred Itaeli, Glen Pierce, Mrs Joyce Kallaghe, Joanna Waddington,
Navraj Hans. Front Row: Ali Lyon, Tom Pearson, Nick Zafiriou
The advantages of children playing sport each day are scientifically proven to help them concentrate and gain confidence and yet, there is still no space for sports amongst most school curriculums. So, ACE Africa and Future Stars are hoping to improve this but, these projects need funding and support.
Luckily that support came from one of England’s famous top public (private) schools, Eton College in Berkshire. Sports teacher, Glen Pierce and three of his past students started raising money for this project late last year and not only made enough money to support the project but also brought with them 470 kilograms of football equipment for the rural schools. They are in Tanzania for one month helping with football training and immersing themselves into the cultural experience, so very different from their own.
“I didn’t expect to see so many kids at one school but I couldn’t wait to get out there and kick a ball around with them. I learned Swahili on the journey so I knew a few words, it was a really fun day. I just want to see the children happy and have some fun myself.” Said Tom Pearson, Eton College leaver, describing his first day on the project.
His friend and fellow football fanatic, 19 year old Ali Lyon, said: “I didn’t really notice anything until the kids took their shoes off and I realised that each one of them was broken but, they all found a pair of new boots or trainers that we had brought with us.”
Their sports teacher, Mr Pierce, would like to ensure that Eton College continues to support this project for many years to come, “The kids have a natural instinct to play the game, both boys and girls, it’s incredible. As a parent, to see such happy children just from a football is amazing.”
Visitors pose with "future Tanzania's Premier League players!"
Third school leaver, Nick Zafiriou has a slightly different memory of his first day on the project: “You drive off road for about an hour and suddenly there’s a school in the middle of nowhere and there are about 300 kids in front of you. They were shy but when we said mambo for about the 65th time, they relaxed.”
Joanna Waddington, founder and country director of ACE Africa, emphasised that the partnership between FSA and ACE Africa demonstrates the importance of collaboration between NGOs and Civil Society players to target the most vulnerable through the long term development work of ACE Africa and the skills and experience of FSA. Alfred Itaeli, founder and director of FSA, shared his hope that the pilot project will be the start of many such football leagues across the country, reaching the most vulnerable children through ACE Africa in remote, rural areas who otherwise would remain marginalised.