4 August 2016

Hosted by streetfootballworld network member Football for All in Vietnam, the FFAV Cup is a two-day football for good tournament that unites more than 3000 young people from all over Vietnam. Le Phuoc Thuc Nhi shares her experience of the event below.  

 

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For a child, play, fun and the peace of just being a child has no beginning — nor does it have an end.

 

“I used to go to FFAV Fun Football Festivals when I was in grade seven, up to grade nine. They didn’t have FFAV Cups back then,” explained Ha Hoang as he watched the secondary school footballers playing on the pitch, his eyes entranced by the sight of the ball being skillfully maneuvered. “I went to every practice and every field trip back then. There were trips to Hanoi, too. They were the most memorable”

 

I could hear him voicing his passion for football and his love for FFAV as he spoke. There was almost a little sadness, a little nostalgia between his words.

 

Ha is a grade 12 student at An Luong Dong high school now. He travelled about an hour on motorbike from Phu Loc to Hue City to watch the children have fun on the pitch and in the life skill tents, to immerse himself in the Cup atmosphere once more.

 

Ha is one of countless kids whose vision has been changed for the better by grassroots football.

 

“Football isn’t the main thing here,” he told me. “Some kids are too young to be able to play well, for sure, but it is important because they have the chance to interact with children from other schools, other provinces. They get to learn essential skills the fun way.”

 

Grassroots football works. And it works amazingly well. Just one little ball can bring together so many children — not only on the pitch as they team up for their matches, but also in life skill games when children from many different places mix to form new teams. Isn’t that the essence of peace?

 

Play is in our DNA. Play has the power to connect children, creating opportunities for them to develop and for their potential to be discovered. Most importantly, play lets children be children and have fun. The FFAV Cup strives to do just that.

 

Today is the second day, and also the last day of the FFAV Cup 2016. The kids' football attire is a bit dirtier, their shoes a bit smudged with mud, their caps wet from sweat. But they still smile just as brightly and they still give each match 100%, just like the first day.

 

For a child, play, fun and the peace of just being a child has no beginning — nor does it have an end. I said goodbye to Ha as I moved on to another pitch. And I saw him carry a glimmer of peace in his eyes as we parted.

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