Many people, if not everyone has a talent but not everyone knows what they are good at. Many will therefore, live their lives not knowing their talents partly due to lack of opportunities to develop them. This is one of the greatest challenges confronting sports development in the country.
Whilst it is a fact that schools remain Ghana’s best bet to unearthing young talent, the missing link has been how to go about it. Some of the greatest talents that Ghana has produced in sports like Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan were unearthed at the school level and any project that seeks to encourage students to stay at school whilst playing sports in a safe environment must be encouraged.
One such project is the FutureStars Schools Project, which seeks to encourage children to stay in school through the power of sport. The programme is a holistic approach to human development and culminates in what is called Festival of Sport, which will be held at the Tema Sports Stadium tomorrow, Saturday, September 16, 2017.
This year’s youth festival is the fourth edition and aims to engage young people in sport and education to enhance their lives by encouraging the children to go to school using the power of football, and sports in general.
The main partners in this project are the OMA Group, Ipswich Town Football Club, a football team playing the in English Championship division and Yinson Production, an offshore oil production company.
The event tomorrow will see five public schools, located within the Tema Metropolis battle it out in five-a-side football matches.
The five selected model schools in Tema for the project are Community 7 Primary School, Community 8 Primary School, Twedease Primary School, Republic Road Primary School and Batsonaa Primary School.
To ensure sustainability and holistic development of the children, OMA Group has also employed coaches on a full-time basis, who visit each school every week to deliver football coaching and workshops with the schools’ physical education teachers to help them deliver a complete range of sports activities for the children.
The initiative is a comprehensive development programme that extends support to the selected schools, apart from the football. The three partners run an exciting programme together with the five schools in Tema to deliver daily & weekly sports programmes for boys & girls, build and run a small development academy as well as assisting with the refurbishment of infrastructure at the participating schools.
They also provide playing surfaces or pitches for the beneficiary schools with plans to also begin exchange programmes with schools in Ipswich Town, in the United Kingdom and others. Likewise, it works closely with the Ghana Education Service in carrying out the programme.
As part of this year’s Festival of Sport, a team of coaches from the UK including Titus Bramble, a former Newcastle United player and now an Academy coach at Ipswich Town FC. Terry Butcher, a former England international and Captain, Manager & coach, Plus Simon Milton a former Ipswich Town player and now OMA Group SCR Director are already in the country visiting some of the participating schools ahead of the event.
According to the organisers, the purpose of the FutureStars project is to engage young people in sport and education and enhance the lives of everyone involved.
Similarly, it aims is to give the young football talents an opportunity to showcase their skills and receive training and talks from the coaches and professional players.
The Festival of Sport is a celebration of the project and brings the schoolchildren and company staff together for an enjoyable and competitive event.
The annual FutureStars festival has become a hugely popular event and attracts teams from throughout the area and across the border into Togo.
Apart from the five-a-side soccer for both boys and girls, this year’s festival will also feature handball for girls as well as other activities such as fastest boy and girl competitions.
How OMA FutureStars programme is ran with the schools
OMA Ipswich P.E. Session
Here, the programme run with the schools include PE sessions every morning in all five schools to provide coaching in all sports to all pupils. The coaches ensure that pupils have full PE activities each week and assist in preparing the schools’ various sports teams for competitions.
There is also the OMA Ipswich PE Session, where selected pupils receive coaching from the coaches employed by OMA every morning in member schools.
Netball School Session
The Netball runs every morning for the girls in all member schools. The coaches also prepare the teams for competitions and invite talented youngsters to become part of an After-School Development Centre.
After School Football Development Centre
The centre currently works with 36 boys, with training sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Health and life lessons have also been introduced at each session aimed at creating ambassadors for sanitation and hygiene in their various schools.
After School Development Centre - Netball
With the Netball Development Centre, the coaches continue to provide netball training for all the girls. In collaboration with the National Netball Federation, the girls have the opportunity to visit the national team players to learn from them and to be trained by some national coaches.