Football’s world governing body, FIFA is setting up projects in 20 communities across Africa as part of its legacy programme for the 2010 World Cup.
The organisation announced that the new centres will be called ‘Football for Hope’ and will offer disadvantaged children courses in soccer and ‘life skills’.
The first project has already been set up in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town. The sprawling township of more than a million people has one of the highest rates of HIV in Africa. It is hoped that the new centre will help to develop children’s soccer and life skills after school hours.
The centre also boasts another purpose, offering a safe-haven for children so they can avoid the danger of crime and theft in the town.
The coaches at the centre have all been trained to teach ‘life skills’ as well as football, and have each been recruited from the township, creating job opportunities for the local community and a stake in the project.
‘There was a big problem of crime in this area,’ said Katrin Elseman, one of the project co-ordinators.
‘But we haven’t had a single incident of theft or vandalism because the people are protecting the centre,’ she added.
The centre, along with 19 others across the continent will receive FIFA funding for the next five years.