WIFA sign MOU with Oceania Football Confederation for Just Play Program

The Western India Football Association (WIFA) has taken a step in the right direction by further strengthening their relationship with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and implementing the ‘OFC Just Play’ Programme in India.

The theme of ‘OFC Just Play’ is spreading the awareness of ‘sanitation’ and ‘hygiene’ among young footballers. A Just Play Festival was organized with the aim to give messages related to effective hand washing techniques which were imparted through fun football sessions.

Mr Frank Castillo (General Secretary of OFC and Fiji Football Association), Mr Rajesh Patel (President and FIFA Council Member) had visited the WIFA office to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between OFC and WIFA.  This MOU supports the next phase of plannings of the OFC Just Play Programme in India and details the financial contribution and technical assistance provided by OFC towards the same.

Mr Rajesh Patel lauded the efforts made by the governing body of football in Maharashtra. “I think it was a great experience. The WIFA Just Play program has been doing really well for the past two years and we are very happy to see the program continuing and growing. You can see the smiles at the faces of the children along with the involvement of their parents, and this is the main objective of the Just Play program. We want to expand this initiative to different parts of the world and we’re very happy with WIFA’s efforts to develop grassroots in Maharashtra” quipped Rajesh Patel.

The program will be delivered by WIFA  – OFC’s national implementing partner in India. Souter Vaz, General Secretary of WIFA and Henry Menezes, CEO of WIFA,  led the WIFA signing delegation and discussions.

“We thank the OFC for their valuable support to the WIFA-Just Play in India. We ensure our strong commitment towards this program as we project to extend this program to other regions of the state and target to reach out to 10,000 kids through this program.” said Vaz

Castillo is confident about the future of the programme not just in Maharashtra but also its expansion across India. “This is a fun and cost-effective programme providing the first positive experience for children and promoting social development. This makes it an incredibly attractive programme for those companies that are looking for ready to go programmes in order to link with their existing CSR activities. The contribution of the Just Play programme to the Sustainable Development Goals (Goals) has been acknowledged in a case study documented by the Commonwealth secretariat in 2018,” said Castillo.

The programme has been active in Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) schools across Mumbai and the next phase of delivery will focus on development centres as well as training volunteers to assist in future programme delivery. “Teaching football is also education and with it we can spread important values and social objectives and our aim will be to extend this awareness to all regions. We are happy to work with OFC on this initiative.” said Henry Menezes.

WIFA will continue to deliver the Just Play programme in Mumbai, Maharashtra while also expanding the scope of programme delivery to other towns in Maharashtra such as Thane and Palghar.

Wendy D’Costa embraces her role as WIFA Just Play – Project Manager and looks forward to the challenges that come with the role.

The expansion of the Just Play Programme into India has been made possible because of the technical expertise and financial support of OFC and the UEFA foundation for Children.

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