It is rare to see cooperate companies investing in football development. However, Shield has changed the game with their Shield Sibonis’ iDiski campaign. On Wednesday the 17th of April I attended a Shield Roundtable discussion at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto where we tackled issues around football development in the country.
My biggest concern has always been around coaches in the townships and rural areas. They dedicate their lives to mentoring children, not only to be one of the best football players but to be influential citizens in our country. However, it gets hard for them since they do not get paid for what they do, so they end up looking for a full time job thus neglecting their calling of moulding young talent.
I have seen this in my own family, my big brother has been coaching kids in our village for more than 10 years. The kids he has trained have turned out to be well disciplined and respectful adults. He struggled with maintaining his life and ended up looking for a full time job. He still trains them after work but he always complains about being tired and that when you are training children you need to be fully present in the moment. I have raised my concerns about development coaches both on Social Media and at Roundtable.
I’m delighted to share with you that Shield has launched an initiative for development coaches called Coaching The Coach. This aims to groom and train the coaches with the necessary skills they need to develop players. Shield is not just changing young footballers lives but they are aiming to have an impact in football development as a whole.
This year they have 10 regions for trials in which players need to bring their ID’s in order to be scouted. 3 players stand a chance to win a lifetime opportunity to train with Chelsea for a week.
If more big companies would follow suits on what Shield is doing, I am sure that a lot of young people will be interested in turning their passion into a career.
Follow @shield_za for more information on their trials or go their website: https://www.shield.co.za/move-with-shield/move-with-shield/player-updates/find-your-club.html