The Our Telekom National Kids Football, Cultural Exchange and Education Festival started at the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Academy yesterday with coaching workshops for the participating teams.

The coaching sessions are a part of the overall program of the event which will be expanded to include cultural activities and educational programs for youngsters.

According to the Technical Coordinator for the event, Noel Wagapu, the sessions involve drills on basic football skills like heading and passing.

"The aim is to introduce the students to some of the basic skills and techniques for playing soccer," Wagapu said.

Wagapu added that the workshop will also help the teachers who came with the teams to understand coaching styles and procedures that are applicable to children footballers.

"This will enable them to better facilitate the development of young footballers coming through their schools in their respective provinces."

Next week, the coaching sessions will be supervised by FIFA Coaching Instructor, Yvon Avry.

Avry was here earlier this year for the FIFA Grassroots Coaching Course which was run in July. Some of the coaches trained by Avry are working with the SIFF technical department in the Kids Football Festival. They will continue to assist Avry and in the process further their understanding and practical experience as coaches.

The official opening of the Our Telekom National Kids Football, Cultural Exchange and Education Festival will be held at Lawson Tama on Sunday.

About 300 standard 6 students from all over the Solomon Islands will converge in Honiara for the event. Only 7 of the provincial teams have arrived in Honiara so far but more are expected to arrive over the weekend. The four (4) primary schools representing the eastern region of the country will arrive on Saturday.

SIFF intends to have the Kids Football Festival as a permanent feature in its annual events calendar. The idea of combining football, culture and education is groundbreaking for SIFF and a lot of valuable knowledge will be gained from this year's event.

The teams will move into the games village at St. John School on Saturday. The actual competition matches will start on Monday 21st September, 2009.

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