A charity initiative set up by Spain’s FC Barcelona has set up a training camp in the city to help children enhance their social values through football.
The scheme is also being funded by oil company Shell and around 200 children from the age of eight to seventeen are taking part.
Waleed Hameed, is in charge of the Youth and Sport Directorate in Basra.
“All the children who are taking part in this program will be sponsored and provided with gear and equipment to guarantee the success of this project or program. The coaches are volunteers from the clubs and institutions from the Youth and Sport directorate in Basra,” said Hameed adding that most of the coaches are local volunteers.
Children were put through their paces as they kicked balls up and down the pitch and performed a number of soccer drills.
One of the boys attending the soccer academy is Jassim Tawfiq.
‘‘This field was muddy, and sandy before and in a poor state. But now with the training, it’s no longer in a poor state, and I’m truly very happy,’’ he said.
Representatives from the Spanish club’s foundation were on the sidelines and were happy to see the children enjoying the Beautiful Game.
‘‘Shell and FCB foundation, we are together in Iraq, in Basra. We are visiting this festival, you can see the all children having fun, playing football, also we will be together developing a social program that is called Football Net, it is a social program that we will use the football as a tool to help youth and children in developing social and life skills like team work, effort, responsibility” said Nicolas Rubio, a representative from FC Barcelona Foundation.
The initiative between the oil company and the European football club aims to ‘instill values in children’ and to ‘promote positive values in children and teenagers all over the world.’
The two organizations are also planning to set up similar academies in Oman and Qatar.