A Ghanaian passion - and a beacon of hope?
Soccer is a part of life in Ghana; people kick against everything that could somehow be used as a ball. Even in the greatest heat and in the sun, street soccer is played. And of course, many hopes are pinned on soccer, especially among the young, talented generation! Many boys believe they can escape poverty through talented play. To become a famous soccer player, a „Black Star“ who earns a lot of money abroad and returns to Ghana as a made man, a dream that many dream of, – but that can only come true for so few. Unscrupulous soccer traffickers mercilessly exploit these dreams. These modern-day „slave traders“ populate the public ball fields and sports fields in search of suitable talent for the often underclassed leagues. They want to secure possible talent at an early stage, and to this end they lure the boys from the poor quarters with whispers and enticing offers to the „Black Stars“ into an uncertain future. They take the children under their „custody,“ where, however, there is no room for school or education. Should the selected boys then not prove themselves in the sense, they emerge at best months or even worse after years again at home, of course without money or the promised career.
Harriet's worst fear comes true!
Of course Harriet had nothing against it, especially since the children’s urge to move must find its expression, nevertheless she always carried this fear for her boys in her heart. And during her stay in Accra in 2009, the time had come: One of the children did not return from school in the evening! An immediately initiated search confirmed her fear: The child had been ’shanghaied‘ by a professional soccer scout. Like a lioness, Harriet fought for the boy over the next few hours and succeeded, by whatever means necessary, in bringing the child back to the African Angel home. After the initial excitement had subsided, it was clear to her that something like this would happen again and again and that she would not be able to protect the still unstable children from it. She had neither the time nor the means for that. But Harriet had an idea for the future!
African Angel becomes school - soccer school!
African Angel had to offer the solution itself and provide the soccer talents with a solid and controlled education in their ‚dream job‘. This would give the children a soccer education with club play in addition to their normal schooling. No sooner said than done. An ad in DAILY GRAPHIC was quickly placed and 10 applicants for the position of soccer and sports coach showed up for the interview. It is important to know that most soccer coaches in Ghana are unemployed people who are forced to do the job on a voluntary basis. A paid employment as a soccer coach is therefore almost the exception. The choice then fell on Mr. Kennedy Sarpong, since then generally known as „Coachi“, who since then on the one hand trains our soccer talents professionally and on the other hand gets the whole home, including caretakers, moving on Saturdays in the morning.
Youth soccer in Ghana - without public support!
Unlike in Germany, where youth soccer is the organizing responsibility of the state soccer associations (in North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, the West German Soccer and Athletics Association in Duisburg), youth soccer in Ghana does not even begin to have a comparable infrastructure. There is a lack of everything needed to offer the young players appropriate opportunities for development. No pitches, no coaches, no transport, etc. Here, too, as in the education sector, only the halfway well-off have access to the appropriate opportunities. Why is this so? There is no money to be made in youth soccer in Ghana! And the unbelievable number of soccer-playing children and young people is sufficient to always ensure the „new blood“ of the adult league. So nothing is invested there either. Against this background, the ‚cry for help‘ of the Regional Football Association for financial support of the so-called Colt teams (youth soccer teams) in the country is also to be understood. The association’s chairman, Alhaji Daudi Yahaya, made an urgent appeal to individual sponsors, all non-governmental organizations, politicians, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, the Metro Mass Transit association and all charities to support Ghana’s youth soccer. While Harriet was unaware of this call in 2009, as always she did the right thing out of problem solving, she installed the youth soccer development program, the African Angel Team. Under the guidance of Coach Kennedy, four youth teams were created before the end of 2009:
5 / 13 U 14
18 / 0 U 12
2 / 16 Fast
African Angel / Other U 10
3 / 15 U 17
Soccer! Our U17 soccer club African-Angel-FC makes the 2. place
In the U17 tournament of the GFA (Ghana Football Association) in the Ashaiman zone, in which now in January 16 teams competed against each other, our footballers of the African Angel FC came to the final and unfortunately lost against Deportivo FC with 0:1.
Nevertheless, we are very proud of our players, a large part of whom come from the African Angel house. We continue to train diligently 🙂
Since we are still missing a few training balls, we would be very happy about donations in kind or money.
Since it was not possible to form 4 Colt teams from the African Angel children alone, participation in the African Angel teams with professional soccer training was offered to children and young people from the neighboring poor districts of Teshie and Nungua, and was accepted with great pleasure. The four African Angel teams have been playing successfully in youth soccer since 2010 and African Angel can make the existing infrastructure (including transportation) accessible to other disadvantaged groups. Another advantage is that the children from the poor quarters who join the team get a decent meal before and after the game.
African Angel e.V.
Chances for Children
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