The members of the Youth Football Association Council met earlier this week to discuss the Association’s upcoming projects and initiatives.
The meeting was chaired by Norman Darmanin Demajo who has succeeded Fr Hilary Tagliaferro as president of the Youth FA. In his introduction, Darmanin Demajo paid homage to Fr Hilary’s outstanding contribution to youth football, stressing that the Association will continue to uphold the principles and values instilled by Fr Hilary who called time on his 39-year tenure as Youth FA President last June.
Darmanin Demajo explained that, since becoming Youth FA President, he has consulted various stakeholders and youth nurseries as part of a situation analysis, especially in view of the fact that the roles and responsibilities of the Association had to be revised after the organisation of the national youth leagues was taken over by the Inħobb il-Futbol Foundation in agreement with the Malta Football Association.
The Youth FA remains fully committed to promoting youth and grassroots football with Darmanin Demajo stressing that the Association will be striving to provide more opportunities for young children, boys and girls, to play and enjoy football, offer greater support and assistance to the youth nurseries, organise a series of festivals for different age-groups throughout the season and strengthen its social responsibility programme.
In line with its vision to increase the accessibility to football for young children, the Youth FA is embarking on a new initiative in collaboration with the UEFA Foundation for children. Merging the footballing and social aspects, the Coaches On Wheels project will incorporate fun-filled training sessions for children, boys and girls, aged five to eight. The sessions, free of charge, will be held in areas where these age-groups are not catered for by nurseries due to various constraints.
“The guiding principle is to give young children the opportunity to play football and fall in love with the game,” Darmanin Demajo said. “This project is also intended to encourage children to eventually join the nursery of their locality at the entry age group of their club nursery, thus helping to increase participation at club level.”
Ray Farrugia, the former national coach, will co-ordinate the technical aspect of this project with the support of a team of coaches engaged by the Youth FA.
‘Football, Live It With Love!’, the phrase coined by Fr Hilary to reflect the essence of the Beautiful Game, is the motto of this initiative. The first pilot project, earmarked for Gozo, is due to kick off in the last week of October. The other pilot project will focus on the Cottonera area.