Using football as a vehicle for education

Checking in at the Real Madrid Foundation soccer school this week were, from left, Tristyn Coetsee (Coerver Coaching), Cayl Coetsee (Coerver Coaching), Andres Muntaner (Real Madrid Foundation) and local programme co-ordinator and coach Keegan Walker.

A delegate from the prestigious Real Madrid Foundation is delighted with the progress being made at the global football giant’s social soccer programme which has been implemented at the Hout Bay International School.

Andres Muntaner, the Real Madrid Foundation’s manager for clinics, camps and new projects worldwide, was in Hout Bay on Monday December 4 to get an up-
date on the local programme, one
of 42 being run in 29 African countries.

The programme has been running at the school for the past two years, but in the past year has become more structured thanks to the involvement of professional coaches from the Football 4 All organisation (“Soccer initiative aims to unite community”, Sentinel, October 27).

Mr Muntaner journeys all over the world connecting with local partners to set up camps and clinics on behalf of the foundation. During his South African visit, he met with the City councils of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town to create additional opportunities, while also checking in with existing programmes.

“As Real Madrid, we are using football as a vehicle for education while we also place a strong emphasis on cohesion and integration in communities,” he said.

“With South Africa’s past, there is a need to use sport to integrate people. We have done the same in the Middle East, where we have brought Israeli and Palestinian children together through foot-
ball.”

The programmes are also used to enhance gender equality, and for this reason teams are encouraged to comprise both boys and girls.

“We are lucky to have a very well-known global brand which allows us to connect with communities all over the world. For us this is a long-term commitment. We believe sport should be a part of every young person’s education. We have been in countries such as Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and for these kids their weekly football is a break from the difficulties they have experienced.”

Mr Muntaner said the coaches and children at the Hout Bay International School were “doing
great”.

“Their profile says 80% of the children in the programme are from disadvantaged communities, which fits in perfectly for our vision of sport for all. It is my first visit to Hout Bay. It is beautiful but obviously there is still a great need for integration among communities.”

RealMadrid’sinvolvement with South African came through Coerver Coaching.

Managing director Cayl Coetsee explained how one day he was contacted by the Spanish trade commission to ask whether he could assist “one of Spain’s clubs”.

“That club was Real Madrid,” he quipped.

“Our objective is to bring big brands to South Africa. By bringing them here, we make them accessible to kids who otherwise would never have an opportunity to engage with them. I think for me, the special thing about this is that Real Madrid is not here to sell a licence to use their name. It’s a real investment for them.

“With most CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects, you find it’s a once-off event. But here they’ve invested their own money, not asking for a cent in return, and it’s an ongoing process.”

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