OlympAfrica Games begin

OlympAfrica Games begin

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

The 2016 OlympAfrica FutbolNet Cup games will kick-start tomorrow at the Lepereng OlympAfrica Centre in Maseru.

Hosts Lesotho will compete against guests Mozambique and Swaziland and according to the centre’s manager, Khotso Mahloko, each country will enter a squad of 15 children aged between 10 and 16.

The kids will be divided in two categories – the Mini-me’s and Benjamin’s.

The mini-me’s will be contested by children between 13 and 16 years and each country will be represented by eight kids. The Benjamin’s is an Under-12 section and each country will have a team of seven kids.

The FutbolNet initiative was developed by Spanish giants FC Barcelona to promote life skills and values through football.

The FutbolNet Programme was inaugurated into African countries in 2013 through the International Olympic Committee, International OlympAfrica Foundation and Audi. There are six values that underpin the FutbolNet Programme – commitment, respect, tolerance, teamwork, responsibility and effort.

According to Mahloko, Lesotho won the mini-me’s tournament and a trophy for being the Best Value team in 2014. He said because the team’s management is looking to give all children an opportunity, the group to represent Lesotho this weekend is made up of new participants.

“We are expecting kids from Swaziland and Mozambique, each country is expected to bring 15 kids, and we are going to use our facilities here. The two-day tournament will start on Friday with the official opening ceremony and will end on Saturday,” he said.

“This programme is for kids between 10 and 16 years. It’s not only about entertainment, it is also educational. We are expecting kids to be more educated. In our centre we offer socio educational programs for young people,” he continued.

Mahloko said the players chosen to represent the country were selected during this year’s FutbolNet Festival held in March where around 14 schools participated.

“We usually hold a FutbolNet Festival where we invite schools that are around the centre because this centre is for the community around it, and then we select the players to represent the country. We don’t select players based on their skills on the field but their compliance and understanding of the six key elements in FutbolNet,” Mahloko said.

FutbolNet has three periods. In the first period players discuss and reach agreements over the behaviour and rules of play to be implemented during the football match. There is no referee in the match and players stick to the rules they set before the game.

In the second period the match is played and in the last period the player’s rate their compliance with the agreements reached which defines the results of the match.

The FutbolNet games do not have coaches but teamers whose job is to act as mediators that ensure agreements made before the games are followed. The teams assess each other after the game before the results are decided.

“We don’t have referees and coaches; it encourages dialogue among the players unlike when the coach is the one doing the talking.  The teamer is just there to offer guidance to the players,” Mahloko said.

No prize monies are on offer at the tournament, however, the winners will receive a trophy while all participants will get medals and certificates of attendance from OlympAfrica and Audi.

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