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Opening ceremony of the "FIFA football for Schools" program

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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Coming Soon, Football in Schools - A Collaborative Effort

Today the Football Federation of Belize, with assistance from FIFA and UNESCO launched a Football in Schools program for primary school children in Belize. It is an initiative that seeks to engage youths in the discipline of football from an early age and to get them to develop their skills to international standards. It is a program that has as its pillars, the F.F.B., and the ministries of Education and Sports. News Five's Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

It's every football fan's wish to hear that Belize gets past the preliminaries in international football competitions abroad. While that reality might still be a few years off, the undertaking of a Football in Schools program may very well be the start of the required level of training and commitment for this to happen. So, starting next month, primary schools will have as part of its curriculum, a football component that aims to complement what this program seeks to accomplish.

Marlon Kuylen, Executive Member, F.F.B.

"We always knew that we needed o structure training for our youths, especially in the schools. It's been a long time trying to get it all going because of everything that was needed to come together, so when we saw that FIFA was promoting this Football for Schools project, we said we have to jump on this opportunity."

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

"That fits in directly with our own new curriculum framework that we have developed, where we're focusing on, as a part of that curriculum, physical education, mental health, wellness and equipping our young people with life skills that will encourage them to have discipline, to be self-reliant, to think critically, to be responsible, to understand how important it is to collaborate with others, to cooperate with others."

The Minister of Sports, Rodwell Ferguson says that in addition to the pledge to support the initiative, there are other efforts that need to be made to improve Belize's football image internationally.

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Sports

"Right now in the region we are not the best, but I can see we are now striving to reach there. Once we reach there, even though we are a small country, I know Belize will excel because our young people are very determined. And it will come to the point where we will have to say you know what, we will have to figure out how we can find the funds to pay them to play football or any other sport. It might be a difficult task, but all things are possible."

F.F.B. Executive Marlon Kuylen explains that football will now be promoted as part of the physical education time periods for the primary schools. The children will be grouped into three age groups. The end goal is to offer twenty-five thousand primary school students the chance to develop their football skills over the next four years.

Marlon Kuylen

"Eventually we hope that they get to like the sport and then we have continuation during their whole school career. What we're basically doing - the F.F.B. does not only promote the playing of football - we also are big into education. If we could establish the discipline and the commitment from a young age, and have continuity, then we're hoping that they stay on the right track, but we needed the collaboration of many entities."

But while there is government and F.F.B. commitment to promote football among primary school youths, Kuylen says there is one other important entity that needs to latch on to the idea .

Marlon Kuylen

"The parents have to get involved because too many times the parents use these opportunities as dropping off their children for the coaches to babysit, and they go about doing whatever they do. We have to get the parents involved. We have to get the business community involved. So it's a collaboration that will make this successful."

Channel 5





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