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FIFA Donates over 10,000 Footballs to Schools in Sierra Leone

The football governing body in the world Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) through the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has handed over ten thousand eight hundred and twenty (10820) footballs to the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) for onward distribution to Schools nationwide.

The official presentation of the footballs took place on Tuesday, July 4th 2023 at the Minister’s New England Ville Office.

Speaking during the handing over ceremony, the School Programmes Facilities Officer at the SLFA Mr Samuel Davies said the initiative of giving balls to schools in Sierra Leone started in November last year when FIFA invited member states to a seminar in Ivory Coast and the need to go back to grassroots football was top on the agenda, especially for WAFU Zone A member countries of which Sierra leone is among.

He said the donated footballs are designed explicitly by Adidas for use in Africa and they are size Four balls for children between ages four to fourteen.

He said they agreed that if they must go back to grassroots football, then they need to go back to the schools, noting that FIFA wants to use football as a subject and a career path that will be studied in school as the economic benefits of football is enormous, citing the Senegalese superstar Sadio Mane as an example.

“Besides the footballs given to schools, we stand to benefit from grants for organizing workshops and training for Physical Health Education (PHE) teachers and organising competitions among school-going pupils. The project will start with a pilot phase and after the pilot phase, FIFA expects the line ministries and agency to write a letter of consent to them and afterwards, the Ministry can apply for grants up to USD$50,000 to promote football in schools,” he said.

The SLFA Technical Director Mr Ibrahim Bah said for Sierra Leone to boost grassroots football, the country needs to have a functional grassroots structure in place and that is what the country has been suffering from since.

He reiterates FIFA’s commitment to promoting grassroots, youth and women’s football, noting that FIFA is willing to finance grassroots football for the next four years.

He said the SLFA already set up a programme to train over a thousand grassroots coaches across the country.
According to Mr Bah, FIFA emphasises grassroots football, this will eliminate age fraud in Sierra Leone’s football.

The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. Moinina David Sengeh thanked FIFA on behalf of pupils in Sierra Leone, noting that with the age bracket of four to fourteen years, the footballs can be distributed to pupils (Girl Schools inclusive) in Pre-Primary, Primary and Junior Secondary Schools which is about ten thousand schools nationwide according to the Ministry’s Annual School Census.

He said the Ministry will collaborate with SLFA for the distribution of the footballs across the country.
He said some of the footballs can also be used for the school league, noting that the Ministry has re-started the school league again.


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