From 29th of May to 3rd of June, Liverpool FC’s club chaplain and head of community, Bill Bygroves, and LFC community coach Eddie Sullivan were contributing to a peace and development project in the biggest African country.
The Scort Project Sudan – Education and Integration through Football, unites Liverpool FC, German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen (new club of Sami Hyypiä) and the Swiss top club FC Basel. Bill, Eddie and the coaches of the two other clubs train 25 young Sudanese from all parts of the war-stricken country - Central and Northern Sudan as well as Southern Sudan and Darfur – to become football coaches.
But the young Sudanese, among them three ladies, do not only learn about football: They get trained in social skills such children’s rights, the leadership of a group and conflict solution. For example, Bill Bygroves taught them the LFC children’s rights charter, the code of conduct for all Liverpool FC coaches. The young Sudanese also learn to conduct social initiatives such as the Liverpool FC Truth for Youth programme. The young football coaches were sent to the programme by the Sudan Football Association and social welfare organisations such as SOS Children, Warchild, Sudanese Red Crescent and St. Vincent de Paul Society. They shall contribute to their organisations’ work through targeted social sports initiatives in the future.
The Scort Project Sudan is conducted by the Scort Foundation, based in the principality of Liechtenstein, which has been working with the Liverpool FC community department in social projects since 2007, in the framework of its partnership programme Football Clubs for Development and Peace.
Bill Bygroves has now been in Sudan’s capital Khartoum for the second time, and is one of the leaders in the coaching education programme. He is highly impressed by the commitment of the young participants: “It is great to see how these young coaches develop. They are eager to learn – and they really want to do something for their people. Now, each of these youngsters started one or two football groups for children in neighbourhoods or in social organisations, teaching them how to play, but also how to grow as a person!” Most of the kids that benefit from these trainings are orphans or refugees from the conflict areas in Darfur and Southern Sudan.
In addition to the coaching education programme, Bill and Eddie conducted trainings for children at the local partner organisation, together with the 25 young participants of the coaching education. This time, they visited the SOS children’s village in Khartoum and a farm of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Eddie Sullivan was impressed by the passion the Sudanese children have for football: “It is so great for those kids to get train by coaches from Liverpool FC. Everybody here is a Premier League fan and these trainings are so special to them. In the end the kids were all chanting Liverpool, Liverpool and we were singing “You’ll never walk alone”. I am proud to be part of a club that supports projects like this.”
The coaching education for the young Sudanese will continue until December, when they will gain a special coaching certificate from Scort, Liverpool, Leverkusen and Basel, which will officially be accepted by the Sudan Football Association.