Although the evidence is still a bit thin (3rd place national U15 competition 2016/2017, wins and draws in matches against Right-To-Dream, 80% win rate of matches in 2016/2017) we, the management of the Action Boys, are convinced that our fundamentally different approach to juvenile football players in our village leads to a much better development of their talent.This different approach consists of two things: we are and continue to run the organization based on a community football program and we provide strong social support for both players and their immediate environment.In other words, unlike all other football organizations and academies, the players are not taken out of their natural environment but stay in or near the village where they come from.In addition, the players are respected as a person and all attention and energy is focused on the development of self-esteem, self-discipline and self-confidence. Based on these strengths the player himself makes decisions that benefit his career.This is contrary to the generally accepted approach with other organizations that imposes discipline with little responsibility from the player himself.
Our ultimate goal as a social enterprise results from this:
Vision: Young football talents in sub-Saharan Africa are developed in their own social environment with respect for the player and his family and with support in the areas of food, housing, education and medical care allowing the individual player to reach a higher (international) standard of play.
Mission: The sustainable development of a local community-based football organization that operates financially independent and trains and guides footballers to international players of the highest level by optimally developing the physical, technical and tactical skills and simultaneously ensuring optimal social emotional and mental development by respecting and supporting the player himself and his immediate environment.
The saying ‘standing still means going back’ is very much applicable to the Kitase Action Boys FC football programme. Therefor we have quite a number of plans to move forward. These are described in the following paragraphs.
Looking at the current status of activities described above it is clear that there is a desperate need to find more financial means to uplift the club. First and foremost we need a better pitch. The current field is not only hampering the level of football that we can play but more importantly is a serious threat to the health of the players. As discussed in paragraph 3 of this chapter the option to uplift the current field is not financially viable. Therefore there is need to look for a new venue for ideally two or even three pitches so we can divert training activities to a separate pitch and use the main pitch for our matches. If the plans to buy land and develop it into new pitches materialises it would be very efficient to include the building of dressing rooms with shower facilities in the plan.
An up and running football club with facilities to properly train young players will be able to do much more as compared to the current set up of the Kitase Action Boys FC football programme. As stated before the lack of any other interesting activity in the village could potentially draw a very large percentage of the local boys and ultimately even girls to the club every day. And with the availability of materials – especially balls – the daily training offers both a change for the players to be involved in a healthy and fun physical activity while the people running the club have a chance to assess all the aspects of the child’s life.
But there is more. If the club manages to lift itself up to a semi-professional level, there is a change that some of the more talented players can be recognized by (inter)national clubs and scouts thus creating an opportunity for individual players to advance in football ultimately having a chance to make a living out of it.
As stated before we are working to optimise the collection of used football materials in the Netherlands. The ultimate goal is to be able to have a system in place in and around Venlo to have a constant influx of shoes, balls and other items. We have already experienced the challenges of transporting all the stuff to Ghana. Therefore we are currently approaching local transport companies – and there are a lot of them in the area of Venlo due to the location close to the German border – to see if we can organise the shipping of a container on a yearly basis. This should allow us to bring in much more materials and thus cutting the costs of buying items needed for the football teams.
We appointed a Director Europe overseeing the possible transfer of players to international clubs. We are collaborating with several international agents and hope to make our first international transfers before the end of the football season in June 2017. We are also collaborating with the Dutch football association KNVB and a couple of experienced international coaches. The plan is to create an opportunity for our best junior players in the age category under 15 to travel for one or two months to the Netherlands to engage in training activities and matches. This should allow us to
pursue three goals at the same time. First of all it will give our most talented footballers the opportunity to gain valuable experience in engaging in football activities at the highest levels in a European setting. Furthermore it will give them first-hand experience in not only travelling abroad but living under Western circumstances getting used to a completely different and much stricter organised environment while having to cope with stranger in a strange environment with severe weather conditions and eating completely unknown dishes. Last but not least it will provide both the players undergoing these experiences and the coaches of the club to evaluate the level of football of our most talented players. In case of big challenges for our players to cope with the level of football they encounter abroad we have to re-strategise. If they can cope well with the level of football of their age mates in the Netherlands it would encourage the players and the club and prepare us better for subsequent transfers of these players once they reach the age of 18 years. Through the same connections with the KNVB we are planning a visit of a few coaches from the Netherlands to train our local trainers. Ultimate goal is to increase the level of training at the grass root level in the region allowing a large number of young players to get accustomed to a much higher level of technical and tactical training at a younger age. This should lift the level of football around Kitase allowing the Action Boys to find better players in the immediate vicinity of the club. This should lead to a higher level of football of the club thus improving the chances of breaking through for both the club and individual players.
At this point in time Kitase Action Boys FC finds itself at an important crossroad. If we are able to secure funds for the further development of the club the Action Boys will have a good chance to become a serious club with further options for both established and upcoming players to have a shot at a true football career. At the same time it will attract larger number of local boys and girls wanting to play which in turn will lead to more insights in their current living conditions and more opportunities to guide them. This in turn will provide opportunities to target the social projects of the organisation in a better way. Ultimately a proper development of the Kitase Action Boys Football Club could establish a system in which players have more chance of getting a transfer to a professional club which in turns will bring in enough finances to run the club independently from external donations. In the end this would offer a chance for this football programme to be self-sustainable.