By Ritah Aliguma
It was great joy and happiness when the slum kids learnt they would be part of the soccer clinic at the Mandela National Stadium with. Almost every parent wanted his or her child to attend but the number was limited to 100 kids. The first day, the slum kids could easily be identified from their dress code. But all that changed when they were given their white and blue kit. The rest was history as both slum kids and those from elite class all became the same
Two academy coaches at English Premier League outfit, West Bromich Albion football club are in Uganda for a week long coaching clinic with Excel Football Academy players.
The coaches are Jonathan Ward and Lawrence Dave who arrived in Uganda on Sunday, 7th January 2018.
At least 300 young footballers between 5 and 17 years are converged at the outside training ground of Mandela National Stadium, Namboole since Monday for the exceptional training session that last for more than four hours.
The sessions include among others the basics of football as close ball control, passing, heading, crossing, shooting, goalkeeping and positional awareness.
Among the players in attendance are from Patrick Gwayambadde’s owned Excel Football Academy and those recommended by Kampala Capital City Authority from the slum area of Acholi Quarters under the Aliguma Foundation.
In fact, KCCA facilitated the travel and upkeep of the youth coaches who have already expressed the urge and desire to work with the youngsters.
Dave, with a 12 years’ experience at the West Bromich FC academy football, also the head of sports at the Albion Foundation is excited working with the Ugandan young footballers.
“I am enthused to have an incredible talented crop of young players I am working with.
They are all passionate and willing to learn the game of football. Uganda is really endowed.”
Right from the time the kids arrive as early as 8 a.m in the morning at Namboole stadium, they are then warmly ushered in.
Then, they are separated into the different age categories, talk sessions are held with the help of local and the two guest coaches and the long awaited real football business kicks off
An excited Junior Riki, 6, one of the slum kids invited from the Acholi quarters notes in a separate interview.
“I am happy to meet Muzuungu (read White) coaches.
They are friendly and have taught us on how to behave well and play football the right way. They are good”
I am happy that these two West Brom Youth coaches are here with us.
As coaches, we are learning a lot from them as we also share the different experiences and knowledge.
I am also grateful for the turn up of the children as backed by their parents and guardians.
In the same spirit, I wish to thank all our partners, KCCA, Jesa Diary and Centenary Bank and the media for the love and timely support, Patrick Gwayambadde said