Birmingham students have been showing off their fancy footwork in more ways than one as part of an African-themed football festival.
Students play fair in an African-themed football tournament
African dancing by the students of Dame Elizabeth Cadbury school was followed by a Play Fair five-a-side football tournament in which six primary schools took part.
Timed to coincide with the African Cup of Nations, the tournament was part of the British Council's Connecting Classroom's project, which has seen local schools form partnerships with schools in Ghana and South Africa.
School Reporters Stevie-Jay and Jamie were there to catch the action.
African Nations Play Fair Festival
School Reporter, Bournville School and Sixth Form Centre
Bournville School had the fantastic opportunity to be a part of the Play Fair festival that was held at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School.
Six primary schools from the local area took part in a football tournament in the aid of fair-play.
Even though the scores wouldn't be counted we hoped they would realise the importance of playing fair and taking part.
The fair-play tournament was part of the Bournville schools European Comenius Project and their African Connecting Classrooms project, both funded by the British Council.
Each of the six schools were given an African country to study
A group of students from Bournville School's Year 10, who are taking the Junior Sports Leader Award (JSLA), were chosen to represent the school in this event.
The JSLA course consists of:
Before we headed off to Dame Elizabeth school we got the chance to meet Shelley Alexander, the assistant editor of Football Focus on the BBC.
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Organisation skills
- Learning the aspects of fair-play
- Being able to face any problems that may occur whilst in a lesson - and many more!
We found some interesting things about Shelley and the BBC itself. She told us the importance of fair-play within her job and how it can affect her if it is not used.
She said: "The African Cup of Nations is reaching out to the rest of the world. I hope your fair play tournament reaches out to the rest of Birmingham."
After we spoke to Shelley we headed off to Dame Elizabeth School where all our sports leaders were waiting for their teams. They were:
Once all the schools had arrived some students from Dame Elizabeth School performed a dance to kick-start the event.
- Northfield Manor, Cameroon
- Bournville Juniors, Nigeria
- Bellfield, Egypt
- St Marys, Ivory Coast
- Our Lady Of St Rose, Ghana
- Princethorpe, South Africa
Mr Mutton from Bournville School then spoke to the students and staff about the events of the day and the reason why we, as a group, were promoting fair-play.
Then the sports leaders gathered their teams and took them outside to release multi-coloured balloons to show that the Play Fair Festival had started.
Students from eight Birmingham schools took part
After all the teams had warmed up everyone was ready to play.
I spoke to some pupils from Bournville Juniors to see what they thought of the event.
One student said: "It all seems really exciting but I'm really nervous. The sports leaders are really caring and kind and I can't wait to play."
While they football games were going on, I had the chance to speak to Leon from the BBC, who has been to the African Cup Of Nations himself.
We asked him about the differences and similarities between our event and the real thing.
He said: "The atmosphere is similar but the African Cup Of Nations is louder, of course. In both events everyone is smiling and obviously enjoying themselves. At the African Cup Of Nations people really celebrate because they can't afford much, but they can afford this. One difference is that fans at the African Cup Of Nations are more competitive."
As one of the main purposes of today was for the sports leaders to organise this by themselves, I asked one of them what they thought of the event.
Jessica said: "The day is going well. I think it's good for the children to realise the importance of fair-play."
Once all the teams had played every student that took part in the tournament got a certificate and a medal to take home.
Then the sports leaders nominated one person from their teams who they thought had played fairly and made it enjoyable day for the sports leaders and the rest of their team.
Before the day was over I got the chance to speak Mrs Plummer who wrote the Play Fair project.
She said: "I collected together seven European countries to contribute to the project. I secured the funding so that students and staff could travel across Europe to promote the project. I delivered part of the project through a Living for Sport PE (Physical Education) group."
Once everybody had packed up we were ready to go.
I feel that the event went really well and I hope that it will benefit the schools in Africa as much as it benefited us.
On 6 February 2008, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School hosted the African Cup of Nations Play Fair football tournament.
Everyone's a winner
School Reporter, Bournville School and Sixth Form Centre
The fantastic location was an excellent place for the occasion.
The tournament, aimed at primary school children, was run by Bournville Secondary School students who are working towards their Junior Sports Leader Award.
The whole objective of the tournament was to raise awareness of fair-play and to get the children playing in a decent and happy manner, not just at the football tournament, but hopefully taking it into sports they play outside of school.
The competition started off with an amazing balloon release that lit the sky with colour.
100 'fair-play' balloons were released
After some African dancing, a warm-up was set up by team managers and various sports leaders.
The managers gave their teams some advice and encouragement and sent their players out.
Following an hour and a half of good commitment and support from the players, the games were over.
Team managers picked a player from their team they thought had worked as hard as they could, encouraged others and was a good team player.
This player was then awarded a trophy from one of the main organisers, Mr Mutton. Certificates were also given out to every participant.
Although, on the day, the competition was co-ordinated by students, there were four months of planning that went on behind the scenes from members of staff.
Miss Tully, the Junior Sports Leader Award organiser, had been teaching the students about what kind of skills they would need and how to do different jobs.
Mr Mutton, who has been building links with other schools in Africa, came up with the initial idea of linking the event to the African Cup of Nations.
Miss Webber helped by going along to the primary schools and offering them the opportunity to take part in the tournament.
Leon Mann, from the BBC, who was attending the tournament, recently got back from Ghana, where he had been following the real African Cup of Nations.
When asked what he thought was similar about the two tournaments, he replied: "The game is being played in the right spirit. There are smiles on the players' and fans' faces and at the end of the game there will be a hand shake, which is what football is all about."
Mann, who has been to Euro 2004 and The World Cup 2006, says that the African Cup of Nations tops them all.
He believes this is because "the people do not have much money and so if they watch a football match they cannot have any other entertainment that requires them to pay for it."
Another presenter/editor for the BBC commented: "The African Cup of Nations is Africa reaching out to the rest of the world. I hope that your fair-play tournament reaches out to the rest of Birmingham."
Other schools and people believe that it is "essential that youngsters today understand the importance of fair-play, not only in sport, but in society as a whole."
The day was a fantastic experience for everybody involved. The tournament , which was described as "excellently run" by a teacher at Bournville Primary School, was enjoyed by teachers, leaders and players.
Now the pupils who have played and organised it have seen the importance of fair-play, it is important that they take that wherever they go and help to improve other people's view of games.