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Grassroots coaches keen to learn

After the potential displayed by their young U-20 men’s team this year, it’s no surprise that the Cook Islands have turned their focus on to the next generation of footballers by investing time in a FIFA Grassroots Coaching Course.

FIFA Instructor James Bannatyne has joined Cook Islands Technical Director Jess Ibrom in steering the 18 participants through the course at CIFA Complex in Matavera this week.

“Our objective is to introduce and expand on the principles of Grassroots football for the people of the Cook Islands,” Bannatyne said.

“In essence it is ‘football for all’, and our job is to empower our people to deliver the game to everyone.”

For the 14 women and four men taking part, the course is only the first step of their football journey, and Bannatyne has been impressed so far by the enthusiasm shown by the novices.

“The participants have been fantastic with their first exposure to football,” he said.

“They have really taken to the content and are understanding the role football can play in children’s lives and society in general,” he added.

“A number of teachers on the course have already expressed a real interest in football and gaining the knowledge to pass on to the children in their respective schools.”

With a significant number of children registered and playing at U-8 and U-11 age groups in Cook Islands grassroots programmes, developing future football programmes in the Cook Islands is very promising and Bannatyne believes it will require the commitment of everyone involved.

“Our goal after this week concludes is to ensure the work from this course is carried into our respective football and school environments in order for children to receive opportunities to be involved in all the football activities they so clearly love.”

The five-day course wraps up on 7 October, giving the 18 new coaches the opportunity to pass on their learning and contribute to the next generation of local footballers.

For more on Cook Islands football visit www.cookislandsfootball.com

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