Malawi Olympicafrica centre hosts FutbolNet tourney

About 100 young boys and girls from Lilongwe city gathered at Olympiafrica Ground, situated at Kamuzu Institute of Sports in the capital city for a two-day Olympiafrica FutbolNet tournament organised by Olympicafrica Centre of the (Moc) last Saturday and Sunday.

Surestream, Blue Eagles celebrate together after Rose James' goal
Surestream, Blue Eagles celebrate together after Rose James’ goal
Champs Surestream pose with officials after receiving the cup
Champs Surestream pose with officials after receiving the cup
Blue Eagles captured before the U-12 final.
Blue Eagles captured before the U-12 final.

Developed by a university under Spanish football giants FC Barcelona, FutbolNet is a program that uses football to promote values among young boys and girls. The values, being promoted include commitment, teamwork, effort, responsibility, respect and tolerance.

Unlike the usual football game, FutbolNet has three components which are discussion of the rules to be applied in a game by the involved players, the actual playing of the game and post-match discussions amongst the involved teams on how the set of rules and regulations were executed by either side. During the post-match discussions, points are awarded to the two sides and the team with the highest points emerges victorious.

As a gesture of tolerance, players from the two teams celebrate together whenever a goal is scored. A goal scored by a boy carries a single point while a goal scored by a girl carries two points.

Before the weekend tournament, 50 sports teachers and were drawn from Lilongwe urban schools to be trained as FutbolNet coaches known as Timers. The training programme also involved some of the coaches who train kids at the Moc Olympiafrica centre.

Having being equipped with all the skills involved in the implementation of FutbolNet programme, the timers mobilised close to 100 boys and girls from Lilongwe for the two-day event.

The young boys and girls were grouped into two age categories- Under 14 and Under 12. As per FutbolNet rules, they formulated their own rules and regulations before battling it out on the field of play. The youngsters chose names of their teams and at the end of it all, a team named Surestream (Not the real Surestream) emerged victorious in Under 12 category after accumulating 12 points against 10 for Blue Eagles. Twelve-year old girl Rose James was the hero in Surestream camp as she converted a penalty kick which earned her side two points in a 1-0 victory over Blue Eagles during the Under 12 final.

Barcelona and Lilongwe Stars met in the Under 14 final, which ended 2-1 favour of Stars. However, each of the two teams earned two points from the final match after Barca scored their lone goal through a girl. After factoring in all the three components during post-match discussions, Lilongwe Stars triumphed with 11 points against 10 for their final opponents.

For winning the Under 12 tourney, Surestream were presented with gold medals and a glittering trophy. Lilongwe Stars were also presented with gold medals.

The trophy that was presented to Surestream was won by the Malawi Under 14 FootbolNet team during last year’s Zonal FutbolNet tournament hosted by Zambia.

Moc president Oscar Kanjala, who was the guest of honour during the event, commended the Timers for working tirelessly to ensure the success of the tournament. Kanjala also hailed Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) for assisting in the process of identifying teachers for the project.

The Moc president disclosed that a select squad will be formed from the tournament to represent Malawi at this year’s Zonal FutbolNet tournament to be held in Zimbabwe next month. Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Lesotho and hosts Zimbabwe are the countries expected to take part in the Zonal tournament.

According to director of Moc’s Olympiafrica Centre Henry Sakala, a total of K1.3 million was invested into the project. He said the funds came from Olympiafrica foundation.

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