St Albans coaches’ football mission to Gambia school

IT was a two-way street when three young football coaches from St Albans travelled to Gambia to pass on their techniques and skills.

For not only did Sam Mardle, Sam Crafts and Tegana James of St Albans City Youth Community Football Club (SACYFC) and St Albans City Academy help their Gambian counterparts but they also improved their own skills and techniques at the same time.

The trio spent eight days in Africa alongside David Wray, the club’s community coach, where they worked with the head of the PE department at Sifoe Secondary School helping with lessons.

Sifoe is in a rural part of Gambia and was chosen as a suitable venue and in need of assistance by the Gambian coaches.

David explained: “Both Sam Mardle and Sam Crafts are community coaches employed by the club as part of the Pro-Action Apprentice scheme. They left sixth form last September and already they have had a real life-changing experience.

“They now realise that there are people who don’t have some of the things we have in England. Those people appreciate the few things they have.”

A number of Gambian coaches and teachers were given new football kits for their teams. Both SACYFC and Football Gambia work with the Herts charity Kit Aid and the club donated eight St Albans kits to Sifoe School to be used by their junior and senior soccer teams. Kit Aid and Football Gambia provided other useful items and the youngsters also received pens, skipping ropes and replica shirts including Sam Mardle’s Chelsea shirt.