Grassroots football a success

The FIFA-mandated grassroots programme run by the Barbados Football Association (BFA) continues to flourish with more young people across the island showing a keen interest, says coordinator Adrian Donovan.

Two programmes were held on Tuesday and another today at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf where 120 children from the Spring Board Youth Development summer programme participated. Donovan told Barbados TODAY that this programme is one of many done by FIFA and they were hoping that somewhere along the way it would be funded to the extent where they can give the coaches and volunteers a stipend.

Students from the age seven to eight class going through some heading drills with coach Kerry Bascombe. (Picture by Morissa Lindsay)

Also a former BFA general secretary, Donovan said that this grassroots programme was one of many conceptualized by world governing body of football FIFA, and all of its affiliates had to put a programme in place which was part of FIFA’s initiatives to spread football across the world.

“We have to record all the sessions and submit them to FIFA and show them that this programme is working and hopefully somewhere down the road it would be funded where we would be able to give the volunteers
a little stipend. Hopefully if that comes about, then we would be able to assist schools and communities with donations of some equipment but right now we are in the initial stages,” said Donovan, who explained that the programme was for children who never had the chance to experience an organized structure of football and it was for anyone regardless of religion, race or gender.

Since last year the BFA has embarked on an aggressive grassroots programme that Donovan said had taken them into schools and now summer camps, to teach children between six and 12 years old about the game.

Meanwhile BFA general secretary Edwyn Wood noted that the key concept of the programme was to bring together as many people as possible through football. “The grassroots programme advocates exchanges and sharing human values and of course promotes the pleasure of practising the beautiful game among our own,” said the newly appointed secretary.

According to Donovan the BFA needs to put on a total of five grassroots festivals this year and so far they have done three and intend to do at least two more before the year-end. These are scheduled for September 9 and December 5. Outside of the festivals the BFA has done about ten grassroots sessions for the year and wants to do a lot more once the new school year begins.

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