The Next Tournament

In the last blog, ‘Alive and Kicking Off’, I mentioned that the Kicking Off cogs are now turning on two levels: first, preparing for our next trip to Ghana, at the end of October; and second, establishing our business plan – so that we are in a position to begin approaching businesses for support. This blog will focus on the first of these and what we are planning to achieve at our second Kicking Off tournament.

The major question I faced when planning this second trip was how we were going to build on what we achieved last time? It went so well on our first trip that I had serious concerns we would struggle to match it a second time!

With that in mind, I gradually assembled my second killer team and after a long meeting with my Mum, established some key objectives for our next trip/ tournament:

Objective 1 – Build on the success of the boys’ tournament by bringing in more structured player age checks and rules when competing. This will not only ensure that the football is a fair competition but will also ensure we are targeting the right set of children.

Objective 2 – Establish a girls’ tournament to run alongside the boys’ tournament. Our last trip taught us quite how much the girls, as much as boys, love football in Ghana and, by running two tournaments side by side, we will almost double what Kicking Off is able to provide on tournament day. This second tournament will also give us a brilliant opportunity to assist and educate the young girls of the Mpraeso community on a variety of feminine issues.

Objective 3 – Provide teachers with useful goodie bags that will aid their professional development. One of the things we learnt from the last tournament is that we need to ensure we look after, and work more closely with, the local teachers to ensure they professionally benefit from the Kicking Off tournaments.

Objective 4 – Spend the week researching and putting together a report and receiving local buy-in for our first longer term project. Currently we propose building a central community hub that will allow Kicking Off and other partner charities to provide a variety of support to projects in the Mpraeso area.

Objective 5 – Build closer ties with the Obomeng Football Academy, planning ways in which we can provide practical assist and further our relationship.

Objective 6 – Spend another week working closely with all the wonderful people at SVG Africa.

Our next trip is hugely ambitious: we have nearly doubled what we are trying to provide, from 300 to 500 goodie bags, medical checks and meals. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m lucky to have recruited another killer team to make it all work!

My team are:

Lisa (aka Mum) and Keith (aka Dad): My Mum is an absolute charity monster and, since the moment I returned from Canada telling her what I wanted to do, she’s been 100% supportive. She is going to be essential to the success of a trip because she is an outstanding teacher and people person – but also because of her experience working with several charities, including an amazing project in Sri Lanka. Whilst she is working with the teachers to help produce a report for our first long-term project, my Dad’s project management skills will be perfect for gathering information on costing a building in Ghana, and researching the best building materials and location for it. As a football fanatic, he will also be a brilliant administrator for the tournament itself.

Amanda and Jack: Amanda is some form of cousin to me (we’ve never worked it out) and Jack is her husband! They are both experienced travellers and will take on the huge job of running the whole of the girls’ tournament! Throughout the week they will also be instrumental in helping to shape our long-term project report, with Jack working with my Dad, and Amanda working on hygiene and feminine issues alongside my mum.

Bryony: The second call I made on my return from Canada was to Bryony. Bryony is my graphic designer friend and has been involved since day two! Throughout the week, both she and I will work on preparing everything for the tournament, and she will be essential in helping the tournament to run smoothly! Over the next few weeks, we will also be looking at remaking the website and bringing it fully up to date – making it ‘very swish’, as I put it!

Just as on our last trip, each member of the Kicking Off Team is going to write a blog of their own, to be put out in the weeks leading up to our departure, so watch out for those!

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