Fletcher Scott kicks goals of friendship under African skies
NOT too many Coffs Coast footballers can talk about their adventures playing football in East Africa.
But Urunga's Fletcher Scott and his dad, Simon, headed off to Lengo Soccer Academy based in Arusha, Tanzania.
"A Tanzanian friend of mine, Emanuel Saaki, lives in Melbourne and is being mentored as a soccer coach at the Rowville Sports Academy," Simon revealed.
"He is founder of the Lengo Academy and was keen for Fletcher to share some of the training skills and techniques.
"Lengo in Swahili language means 'goal' and the aim is to not only provide soccer coaching but also empower the boys with personal support and guidance."
Emanuel set up Lengo Football Academy in October 2012 after successfully coaching a soccer team of street boys.
He began in 2009 with the New Vision NGO team, identifying the players' need for support and guidance beyond the football ground.
Determined to provide far more than just an after-school leisure activity for these disadvantaged boys, Emanuel assists Tanzanian youth to gain valuable life skills and vocational support.
He also provides a route for talented new players to enter Tanzania's top league teams.
Fletcher spent time helping the local boys with exercise routines as well as sharing his knowledge during training drills and then played some trial matches.
Lengo relies heavily on donated equipment and kit, and the large bag of donated soccer equipment was gratefully received from Fletcher and his dad.
Before visiting Tanzania, Fletcher was given some Swahili words that he could use within a soccer context.
The Lengo boys were all excited with Fletcher's visit and impressed with his skill.
During the trip, the Aussies were based at The School of St Jude, set up by Australian woman, Gemma Rice, about 10 years ago.
"Fletcher also played in a football match against a team of 20-year-olds and certainly held his own on the pitch," Simon added.
"Our trip also encompassed a visit to the Northern Serengeti for a safari as well as a trip to London for a family wedding and a side trip to Barcelona.
"Emanuel has also been invited as a guest coach by Melbourne City at their soccer clinics.
"Our vision is to create a path for Tanzanian street kids which offers hope and a more empowered future through football and life skills education.
"As Lengo is the Swahili word for goal, the Lengo Football Academy is about kicking goals and reaching goals."