Members from FIFA were welcomed to the OFC Home of Football in Auckland to deliver a FIFA Football for Schools Programme regional workshop between September 28-30.  

FIFA Council Member Johanna Wood, FIFA Regional Development Manager David Firisua and FIFA Football for Schools staff Alexandre Gros, Alexandra Huete, Antonio Buenaño were present throughout the three-day event.

The workshop consisted of a two-day conference before a practical session at a festival with kids.

Participants were a mixture of OFC staff and representatives from OFC Member Associations New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and New Caledonia.

The FIFA Football for Schools is a mass participation programme that aims to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of boys and girls across the globe and includes a free digital application that is accessible via google play.

FIFA Football for Schools Project Lead Alexandre Gros said while he’s enjoying his third time in Auckland, it’s been great to learn more about the OFC region.

“Being a smaller Confederation means we can go in-depth and properly discuss things throughout the workshop,” Gros said.

“OFC has the unique advantage of already doing something similar to this programme, OFC Just Play, which they have been doing for a very long time – meaning the people here understand what we’re talking about when it comes to using football to produce good and life skills.

“The provision of footballs that we send to all successful Member Associations who apply is one of the most important reasons to have FIFA Football for Schools in the OFC region.

“The app that we provide will also enable MAs to reach islands or geographical locations that are hard to reach. These two things are particularly useful.”

Head of Football Development Paul Toohey said the programme is an enhancement for football development in the Oceania region.

“The FIFA Football for Schools Programme is really good for football development,” Toohey said.

“Through the delivery of balls to schools, that’s something you can use to build on what’s currently existing with OFC Just Play and the work our MAs are currently doing.

“The app too will be a welcomed addition to any coach’s toolkit.”