Warren Leat, the course director, from Stoke City Football Club, who also doubles as Head Coach of the Premier Skills project in Sierra Leone, said that premier skills uses football to develop young people around the world and that they built upon the global appeal of the premier league and its expertise in delivering community programmes in the United Kingdom, alongside the British Council’s global network with track record of delivery.
He said throughout the week local coaches will receive expert training from the qualified UK coaches, helping them to develop and run community actions project that use football as a tool to transform lives and contribute to the development of safer and stronger community.
Leat also observed that female participants would be given the chance to train as effective community football coaches, and strengthen their ability to tackle social issues through the medium of football.
‘’Our key focus in this course will be to encourage the growth of female participation in football which is currently low in Sierra Leone,’’ the course director said.
Warren Leat has worked at Stoke City Community programs for Four years, were his main job focuses on managing school football programmes, which include enhancing various sports that supports schools in delivering the Physical Education curriculum.
In addition, he is working with the Academy U-13s’ at Stoke City and works with girls center of Excellence. He is a qualified football coach of 17 years and currently holds a Level 3 (UEFA B) and he is starting his progression towards (A License), also working in the USA as a coaching director/trainer to a number of US youth soccer clubs.
Paul Taylor who is leading the referees training told Politico that the training was a big opportunity for referees and local coaches in the country and also timely because the country had been able to defeat the deadly Ebola Virus that crippled all sporting activities.
He pointed out that the training of local coaches and referees was significant to develop their skills in delivering community actions programs through football which would help to play part in supporting the development of the society.
Brima Mazola kamara, SLFA Vice president, said that the premier skills, like other development initiatives, has been the backbone upon which the SLFA administration had striven to rebrand football once again in Sierra Leone.
The SLFA Vice President said participants were selected from across the country and that it was an opportunity for the participants to learn from coaches and referees from the developed world and promised that they would ensure that participants replicated what they had learnt when they would eventually return to their various communities.
The VP said premier skills began in 2007, and that 7, 600 coaches and referees had been trained in Europe, Asia and Africa which has cascaded to 1.2 million young people in 29 countries.
He however noted that this was the first time Sierra Leone was benefiting from it.