On Universal Children’s Day, Bodden Town FC players and officials participated in the Oceania Football Confederation President’s Cup and UNICEF Just Play Sports Day.
More than 400 children from West Auckland schools gathered at the Trusts Arena last Thursday in Waitakere, offering personal accounts on the importance of play to their lives, engaging in on field activities and participating in a football art session.
The “Just Play” program uses football as a tool to focus on educating children in the areas of health and well being, gender equality, social inclusion for all children and keeping children safe.
Representatives from the six teams competing for the first OFC President’s Cup interacted with the children on the field, adding their input to the vibrant atmosphere created by the students.
“Bodden Town has always been involved in the community,” said Team Manager Kennedy Kelly. “UNICEF’s Let’s Play day is “an extension of Bodden Town’s philosophy as a club, which is to create healthy minds and healthy bodies through sport. We are happy to play our part.”
Tai Nicholas, OFC general secretary thanked the Cayman club for their support of the initiative.
“I would like to congratulate both Bodden Town and CONCACAF for their participation and their collaboration in the President’s Cup and the activities surrounding the President’s Cup,” Nicholas said. Many observers in New Zealand, including the OFC top brass, have praised Bodden Town’s willingness to participate in community relations during the tournament and their interaction with youth.
To this Mr. Nicholas added, “I saw the video of Bodden Town visiting the school and their engagement, not only here for a tournament, but the engagement for the community and the social responsibility program that we have.”
Following the UNICEF initiative, Andra Allen and the rest of Bodden Town’s players conducted a training session in preparation for their must-win match against Auckland City FC last Friday. Nearing the end of training, students from Flanshaw Road School joined in the training session.
Bodden Town Head Coach Elbert McLean allowed his players to engage the students in discussions on school and the importance off play. The session ended with a blistering 100-meter sprint between the students and players, followed by a lusty rendition of a special song prepared for Bodden Town.