THE power of the sport of football to bring people together and infuse positive change was once again showcased recently when stakeholders from Sweden met their counterparts from Davao for a series of training sessions.

National Youth Football Association (NYFA) of Sweden coach and founder Owen Southgate and youth leader Leo Carlsson were in the country early this month and met with 27 coaches from all over Mindanao for a three-day basic coaching course, made up of classroom and practical sessions.

NYFA Sweden partnered with Football for Humanity Foundation (FFH) to hold the coaching sessions held in Davao City, which were also facilitated by the Davao South Regional FA, Maharlika Sports Development Institute, the Mindanao Peace Council, Ateneo de Davao University and JCI Duwaling.

Apart from holding the coaching sessions, the NYFA delegates also visited the newly launched football small-sided pitch and children’s library under Football for Humanity’s “Play for Goals” project in Zonta Village, Barangay Tibungco, where they conducted the Skills School program for children in the community made up of Muslim, Christian and indigenous households.

Mr. Southgate said they feel privileged to have had the opportunity to bring their mission of youth development in the country and doing it with like-minded organizations and individuals.

“NYFA is delighted to work with FFH to bring football and youth development programs to Filipinos. I believe what we are doing with FFH really brings football to another level, which is that of a change agent in society. Because we work with the youth, we are confident that we are all working towards creating a better, more enlightened society for the future,” said Mr. Southgate, an English FA-certified tutor who also carries a UEFA-B license and founded NYFA in Sweden in 2018.

Football stakeholders in Davao also lauded the effort of NYFA Sweden and FFH, describing it as “groundbreaking” and presenting new insights on coaching and youth development. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo