Windhoek — The NFA Galz & Goals in partnership with UNICEF Namibia will expand its sport development programme from seven to nine regions when it introduces the girls' football project in Mariental and Otjiwarongo beginning this week.
The popular festival programme, which includes the training of coaches and teachers, will commence on February 11 in Mariental and February 25 in Otjiwarongo. Both festivals will conclude with a 7-a-Side Girls Football Tournament for U-13 and U-15s on February 17 and March 2 respectively.
Schools from both regions have shown great interest in the programme and a record number of coaches and young football players are expected to turn out for the festivals. All girls U-13 and U-15 teams from each of the regions are invited to take part in the 7-a-Side tournament.
In addition to football, players will have access to healthy lifestyle information and health booths with free health services for children and adults will be open. The expansion of the programme demonstrates the success that the NFA Galz & Goals is experiencing. National Coordinator, Jackey Gertze, is pleased with the progress of the programme.
"The NFA through its Galz & Goals programme brings not only football education and training to the regions, but also training programmes that help coaches acquire knowledge about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and general healthy lifestyle skills that our girls need. These training programmes help to enable coaches to communicate information to players regarding life skills and HIV/AIDS awareness during team training and competitions," says Gertze.
The one-week programme for coaches will start with a three-day workshop themed 'Sport 2 Life and Healthy Lifestyles', facilitated by SCORE Namibia and culminate in the NFA Introductory Coaching Course conducted by FIFA instructor and head coach of the Brave Gladiators, Jacqui Shipanga. As noted by Shipanga, the programme is more than simply about football.
"What a great opportunity for girls to be part of a programme through which they may not only get the chance of playing football on the national or international level, but also learn about HIV/AIDS and a healthy lifestyle in a safe and nurturing environment," says Shipanga.
Introduced in late 2009, the NFA Galz & Goals initiative aims to empower adolescent Namibian girls through the creation of U-13 and U-15 leagues in targeted communities throughout Namibia, integrating HIV/AIDS education, life skills and healthy lifestyle components to create a platform through which adolescent girls can gain skills and knowledge through active participation in football teams and leagues.