Nelson Mandela day celebrations

by Sunderland AFC

SAFC coaches take part in Nelson Mandela Day celebrations.

Sunderland AFC provides coaching sessions to South African school as part of their Nelson Mandela Day celebrations.

SAFC’s head of international football development, Graham Robinson, along with Michael Havelock from the club’s official charity, Foundation of Light, have been visiting the country in recent days, delivering a number of community projects to local schools.

The Sunderland duo visited St. Mathews School in Soweto to deliver coaching sessions as part of the club’s partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Sunderland AFC, who became the first football club to link up with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2013, support the former South African Presidents’ message of social equality by promoting his legacy through the global reach of the Barclays Premier League, as well as fundraising and community activities.

The session took place at St. Michaels’ artificial pitch, which has been built in between the classrooms to act as the focal point at the school.

Graham said: “The focus of today was to improve the individual technique of the boys and to raise their self-esteem. The session was very rewarding and I have been pleasantly surprised by the individual talent on show.

“We are very proud of our partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and are honoured to play our part in supporting their initiative to eradicate racism through the power of sport.”

At the end of the session, Graham and Michael gifted the players with pin badges and key rings as a memento of the day. The school also received 20 footballs from the Nelson Mandela Foundation as well as an illustrated comic version of ‘Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom’ for each participant.

As part of the club’s activities in South Africa, Sunderland AFC will also feature at Barclays Premier League Live event at Zoo Lake Sports Club in Johannesburg on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 March.

Black Cats fans in South Africa will have the opportunity to participate in interactive challenges as well as footballing sessions delivered by Sunderland coaches at the new fan park initiative.

African fans are being welcomed into the family of Sunderland supporters in increasing numbers and with the club’s many partnerships on the continent, those supporters can see the impact SAFC is having on many people’s lives.