April 26, 2014. Community Impact Coach Natasha Bredekamp from The Football Foundation of South Africa joined CAC Senior Staff member Sophie Legros for a week in Nigeria – she tells us about her experience.
It’s Sunday morning and the long journey towards Nigeria waits, filled with excitement and ready to coach again after 3 years, I ensure I have all the necessary documents. Board the plane in Cape Town and there are no hassles, phase one of my travels completed successfully, off the plane in Johannesburg and now for the dash across the airport to make it to the International Departure Gate to Nigeria in time. I make it through passport control and as I’m about to board the plane, I am asked for my Yellow Fever Card (OH NO!!!). I don’t have one of those and everyone said I wouldn’t need one but no stress, there is a clinic on Johannesburg airport and I can have the vaccination done there and then board the next plane.
Monday morning, vaccine shot received and about to check in for the 2nd attempt to get to Nigeria. Success at last and I’m off, in a double seat all to myself with in-flight entertainment. Arrive in Lagos and the temperature is 35 degrees at 21:00pm (WELCOME TO NIGERIA). I get through passport control and as I’m looking for the assigned driver, I see a mob of people outside and I know there is no way I’m going to find him without any help, so I get an airport attendant to assist me in calling him and have him meet me inside the airport. Finally, we are in Lagos and on our way to the hotel, with buzzing roads and crazy traffic, you are left to wonder; “when does this town sleep?”.
Tuesday morning, time to meet the Coaches Across Continents Team Mate – Sophie – and off to the training field. Today we are doing the Be Empowered module, with games like Seles Attack and Sawa’s Rights it was destined to be a good day, and so it was, with the enthusiastic students which were compiled of teachers, coaches and players all visibly enjoying every game and taking an interest in the message it delivered.
Wednesday and Thursday was the same as Tuesday, same energy, same students but different games. Be Healthy and Be Money Savvy were two modules that grabbed some extra interest as the students couldn’t wait for reviews, so they could make some personal notes about what they learnt.
Thursday afternoon was extra special as it included a certificate handover ceremony which acknowledges all the participants for their involvement and hard work during the week. An Absa Bank Representative was also available for the ceremony, which was nice as they had sponsored the training and supported the foundation in making it possible that Sophie and I could be there to deliver this amazing training session.
With a heavy heart my week has come to an end and I am to leave Nigeria Friday night but not without taking a quick trip around Lagos to try and find some local markets. But the universe had other plans for me as it started storming and all the markets were closed, so I spent a few hours at the local mall before departing Nigeria.
This trip has reminded me why I love what I do, as making a difference using sports brings so many different cultures, races, gender and nationalities all together in one venue with one GOAL!!
Thank You to Sophie, Nick, Iwa, Preye, Lean and everyone who made this experience possible – Coaches Across Continents, Ovie Brume Foundation, Women Win, Youth Empowerment Foundation.