• Introduction to South Africa.

    May 25th, 2011. From Alicia, AJ and Sophie in South Africa.

    We’ve been in South Africa for nearly a week now, and it’s been quite an introduction.  Our first few days in Cape Town were spent settling in and learning about the history and culture of South Africa.  We visited Robben Island to see the prison where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held during Apartheid, and it was powerful to see. Word was out that we were in Cape Town, and the head of the African Brothers Football Academy came to our hostel and asked us to run a session with his teams. The kids were great and really bought into the Ronaldo health and wellness games. Coaching with Table Mountain as a backdrop wasn’t too bad either.

                    On Friday, after a bowl of crocodile stew, we set off along the coast for Hermanus—a beautiful town on the ocean that is a whale-watching hotspot.  We spent one night here before observing an all-day local football tournament on Saturday.  It was so much fun watching kids from different towns and schools ages 8 to 15 laughing and interacting through the power of football.  We were excited to have the chance to meet some of the local coaches from Gansbaai with whom we would be working in the next week or so.

                    Today was our first day on the beautiful turf field with the Gansbaai coaches.  The weather, on the other hand, was not quite as beautiful, with rain and powerful winds all day long.  The African winter didn’t stop us though!  We ran 18 of the town’s local coaches through our “Ronaldo” day—a fun series of various drills and games that emphasize the importance of maintaining one’s health and wellness, as well as finding ways to resolve conflict.  The coaches were very enthusiastic, and even the five female coaches who had never touched a soccer ball before were engaged and open to learning the new Ronaldo skills. 

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