A coach from Berkhamsted Raiders did his bit to support the growth of sport in Africa when he made the trip to The Gambia to lead grassroots sessions for budding footballers.
Leslie Robertson, who coaches the Raiders U11 Red team, made the journey in support of Football Gambia – a UK-based charity that aims to improve education and healthcare in local communities by initially gaining access and positive relationships through football coaching.
Supported by funding from the Raiders, Leslie ran multiple coaching sessions helping diverse groups including 40 grassroots coaches in a remote area of the country, as well as team-based coaching in one of the football academies in Lamin in the south west.
While there, Leslie was also given the opportunity to complete his FA Level 2 coaching assessment – his final assessment was delivered with a group of U13 players from the local academy wearing Berkhamsted Raiders shirts gifted by the club.
All of the coaching sessions took place in challenging conditions, including 30+ degree heat, sand pitches with lines marked out by foot, and playing areas measuring about one and a half times the length of a normal football pitch.
Leslie noted that practically everyone in The Gambia wears either a football shirt from the West Herts and Bucks junior leagues, a strip of an obscure English or Scottish club, or in some cases Premier League jerseys.
In one area, all the players were wearing Hibernian strips courtesy of Raiders’ partner charity KitAid.
The Berkhamsted Raiders strip now resides in the Lamin Academy in The Gambia and will be worn by the U13 team and loaned out to other teams to play in cup finals, prestigious games and special occasions.
For further information about Football Gambia, please visit www.footballgambia.org or see www.affinitywater.co.uk/kit-aid