During October, coaches from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and teachers from Haringey Council, Children and Young People's Service embarked on an educational exchange trip to South Africa with a group of nine young people, aged between 12 and 15 years.
The visit took the group to Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng Province, South Africa, providing the young people with the opportunity to experience life as a student in a South African school and working with young people of similar age from a different cultural background.
The project is built on existing international links between Tottenham Hotspur and the London Borough of Haringey connections with schools in Gauteng. Funding was provided by the Premier League's International Good Causes Fund and Haringey Council.
Prior to the trip, all nine young people worked extensively with coaches from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation in order to prepare them for their roles as coaching assistants.
During the week, the group was based at Noordhoek Primary School in Vanderbijlpark, and visited various different schools in the Tshirela and Bophelong townships. The students were exposed to the diversity of South African culture with a total of five different languages being used by the teachers in schools including Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and English.
Over a three day period, football coaching sessions were delivered at Noordhoek School to more than 250 students from six Primary Schools from the Vanderbijlpark, Parksig, Tshirela and Bophelong areas.
Players and representatives from SuperSport United, Tottenham Hotspur's Club Partners, attended the coaching sessions to show their support for the project. Stars of the 2007/08 ABSA Premiership Champion team assisted with football coaching, judged a football freestyle competition and took part in a Q&A session with the students.
The partnership between Tottenham Hotspur and Super Sport United was established in 2007 and has since seen the launch of a joint academy between the two Clubs and an exchange of methodology and best practices.
In addition to the coaching sessions, a ‘coaching clinic' was delivered by Gary Broadhurst, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Community Development Manager and U10 Academy Coach, to teachers and coaches from 20 different schools in the Gauteng region. The Tottenham Hotspur Grass Roots and Academy philosophies were discussed, ideas were shared, and a variety of drills and practices were demonstrated.
Following the completion of the sessions all equipment, including core coaching items such as balls, bibs and cones, were presented to representatives from the schools involved ensuring that football sessions could continue to be delivered once the Club had returned to the UK.
The final aspect of the trip was to visit the Tottenham Hotspur House, a strand of the Club's long-term international charity partnership with SOS Children's Village. The Tottenham Hotspur House, which is uniquely and completely funded by monies received from players' fines, aims to provide orphaned children in South Africa with a family that they can call their own as well as supporting a variety of community development projects in and around Rustenburg.
The group was invited to meet the children and staff in the village learning about the community and the challenges in South Africa. The visit ended with a coaching session and a football match amongst the children in the village and the students from Haringey.
At half-time during Friday's FA Cup tie with Wigan, the group were presented with certificates for their participation pitchside.