Wednesday, February 13, 2013 (Day 35)
It is a jam-packed day. The CBF HQ people have driven all the way up from Freetown and I get the opportunity to present my report detailing my observations and recommendations from my time with the Craig Bellamy Foundation League in Makeni. All four of the overseas staff read through my report and tell me that they agree with most of my points raised. Let’s hope that the CEO of the CBF in Tombo will now action some of those recommendations, which I believe will lead to the league running even better than it does now.
There is also the opportunity for me to observe the CBF’s coach give an excellent hour-long coaching presentation to a half dozen of the Makeni coaches about ball possession. I believe that you are forever learning as a football coach. There are always new skills and ideas to be picked up from watching other coaches working. I think that applies to somebody like me, with a couple of seasons coaching experience, or even the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, with decades of football at the very highest level.
Afterwards, the coach kindly joins me as the two of us present a refereeing workshop to the local league’s referees. From what I have seen of the guys, they are excellent in general but we just need to brush up on some small interpretations of the game and some of the latest changes to the rules of the game by FIFA over the last year or two. Coloured cones represent attackers, midfielders and defenders as we work through various possible match day scenarios and what the referee should do in each situation.
Thursday, February 7, 2013 (Day 29)
My good friend Graham Foster sent me the scanned copy of the feature about Craig Bellamy you can see above this blog. He spotted it in yesterday’s copy of Metro. Great to see Bellamy getting some acknowledgement but, more importantly, it was more positive media coverage for the CBF league here in Sierra Leone.
The irony of this story is that David Beckham, who is mentioned, has also helped in Sierra Leone and even stayed overnight in Makeni, where I am currently living. I know that many African players who have made it big abroad are trying to ‘give something back’ back home.
Let us hope that more professional footballers follow the examples of the likes of Bellamy and Beckham instead of wasting their riches on gambling and fast cars. Personally, I think super rich and connected FIFA and UEFA should also be doing more to work with projects that encourage education and development through football. More than 2,500 kids are benefiting from the work of the Craig Bellamy Foundation here in Sierra Leone. Imagine how many hundreds of thousands of kids around the world could benefit if FIFA were to mimic this project right across the developing world.
More Than a Game joined The Collective and the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone for a seven-week voluntary placement in January 2013.