L-R: Douglas Smith, a young player Ferguson Bainomugisha with a parent Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

Barely a month after making the grade among the finalists for the 2018 Young Achievers Awards in the sports catergory, Ibanda Soccer Academy’s Douglas Smith is poised to climb the success ladder to greater heights.

Smith, founder of the Ibanda Soccer Academy, a Non Governmental Organization that accommodates close to 200 budding young footballers (agaed 5 to 18 years), has been nominated among the 25 coaches across Africa for the WorldRemit Future Stars Football coaching programme at Arsenal F.C in the United Kingdom.

L-R: Douglas Smith, a young player Ferguson Bainomugisha with a parent Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

In fact, Smith is the second Ugandan, alongside Gulu’s Farouk Musema who runs a programme for the disabled young footballers with hearing impairments for children below 16 years.

This programme was launched in August 2018 to offer local coaches from across Africa an opportunity to attend to an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top Soccer Schools coaches in London, United Kingdom.

Whereas Smith’s programme has shaped many youths towards positive behavioural change and a chance to get school bursaries, Musema’s exceptional work in Gulu district is intended to help the disabled youngsters develop their talent and as well, build their self esteem in communities where they seem out of place.

“It is a big honour to be nominated for such a course. I am humbled and this motivates me to work even harder towards helping the local communities in Western Uganda.” Smith whose immediate target is to put up a local public library disclosed to Kawowo Sports.

The WorldRemit Future stars programme is a new initiative set up by WorldRemit, the official online money transfer partner of Arsenal Football Club.

It is intended to recognize and reward the valuable contribution that youth coaches make to the communities they serve.

The programme received over 700 applications in one week from across Africa before the final short list of 25 coaches was generated by a judging panel of representatives from Arsenal and WorldRemit.

As a primary reward, each of the 25 short listed coaches will get official Arsenal shirts for their youth team.

Five finalists of the 25 short listed will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches.

The five finalists will be featured on the futurestars.worldremit.com website and voting will open in the last week of September 2018.

The programme will equip them with coaching skills which they can take back to build a lasting legacy of coaching excellence in their country.

The high volume of entries we received from Uganda is a clear indication of the importance of youth football, coaching in the community and the vital role of sport in the community. We see the strength of the entries from Uganda as a very promising sign for the country’s future. Like these coaches, our customers are helping to build a better future for others. Our goal is to make it easier for them to do so. Following their example, we hope to use opportunities like our partnership with Arsenal to have a positive impact on communities across the globe.

Sharon Kinyanjui, Head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit

Football has the power to bring communities together, and through our relationship with World Remit we can really inspire confidence and encourage positive social change. We pride ourselves on excellence in all we do and we were very impressed with how strongly the commitment to outstanding coaching was reflected by Ugandans. The work these participants have already done in developing their coaching shows the immense potential of coaching in Uganda. The standard of entries was very impressive, making this a real challenge for the judges. We are eagerly anticipating the final results and look forward to welcoming the successful coach to London.

Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools

Then, WorldRemit will pay for the successful applicant to travel to London in October to attend the Future Stars camp.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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