Recently four Grassroot Soccer Coaches, two from Khayelitsha, South Africa and two from Johannesburg, South Africa, graduated from the British Council and English Premier League’s Premier Skills programme. Each Coach was awarded a Level D South African Football Association (SAFA) license. The Coaches are Wonderboy Sibiya,  Thando Vokwana, Lebo Tlhako, and Andiswa Ndamane.

Coach Thando

Coach Thando, one of four Grassroot Soccer Coaches to recently complete the British Council and English Premier League Premier Skills training.

Premier Skills is a highly selective program that uses football as a tool to engage and develop the skills of young people. During the last year, the selected GRS Coaches received face-to-face trainings on how to be an effective and engaging football coach as well as a mentor and community leader. Each Coach had to develop their own community football project. The Coaches’ projects ranged from a soccer program that works with physically disabled youth to a soccer tournament that engaged elders and grannies.

Coach Thando from Soweto said, “Being a part of this program allowed me to engage my community in something that I love – football – and I am now starting my own football club for young boys.”

The graduation event was attended by SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble and SAFA CEO of Development Robin Peterson, along with selected representatives from sporting organizations, private companies and NGOs.

Cedric Nukeri, Grassroot Soccer site director for Soweto, was asked to be a part of the graduation  ceremony.  Cedric was honored to be asked to represent Grassroot Soccer and take part in this prestigious ceremony.

At the graduation, Robin Peterson discussed SAFA future plans to build community oriented youth soccer centres around the country starting in Soweto this year. The goal is to employ formal Premier Skills graduates at each center to teach life and soccer skills. As Cedric noted, “the partnership between Grassroot Soccer, Premier Skills and the British Council has been extremely successful, and has benefited our coaches greatly.”

Original post submitted by Julie Platt.