It was March 30, it was 11:30 a.m. in Douala when two coaches from the Serge Betsen Academy flew off to Bangui in the Central African Republic. Idriss Tcheumkeu Ketcha and Jacques Matsatsop Toresse (photo below), pure products of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) training, were going to share their expertise and their passion for rugby with young people and local coaches as part of the TRAUMA project
of the Institut Francophone pour la Justice et la Démocratie (IFJD) – Institut Louis Joinet
The main objective of the TRAUMA Project, which is sponsored by the Centre de crise et de soutien du ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères français (the Crisis and Support Centre of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is to understand and take into account post-conflict trauma in the Central African Republic among children and teenagers. You can find more information about the project in general here. It was the IFJD – Institut Louis Joinet Association that called upon the rugby expertise of the SBA in Africa to set up its project in Bangui in collaboration with Ovale Citoyen and the Central African Rugby Federation. The training must allow Central African coaches to have the ethical and sporting principles of rugby, as well as a clear methodology for the sessions. All this with a view to establishing rugby and its values in the long term in Bangui.
The adventure of our two coaches in Bangui therefore began with the training of national coaches who were able to discover the working methods of the SBA. Our two coaches having quickly achieved unanimity as to their ease in handling the field sessions, they mainly took care of the practical training.
Les deux coachs de la SBA, Idriss (à gauche) et Jacques (à droite)
Once the national coaches were trained, the latter, still accompanied by Idriss, Jacques as well as Marine and Lucas from Ovale Citoyen, threw themselves into the deep end with the children. 5 schools for 6 training sessions benefited from the initiation to rugby.
The first training took place on April 11 at the Boganda School. Our coaches started strong with more than a hundred young people to manage in the courtyard of the establishment. Victim of its success, the rugby program had to adapt by splitting the young people according to the following set-up: 4 groups of around forty children supervised by two coaches each, an international coach with a national coach always with a view of transmission. Due to the high numbers, on the day, the children couldn’t all be introduced to rugby… But it’s only a postponement for all the observers of the day, our coaches will be back!
The SBA also had the opportunity to train in the Fatima public school, the Caron high school or even at the Ngaraba school. Not to mention the school for the deaf and dumb in which they had to adapt their session to the players. Our coaches were very impressed with their seriousness and motivation.
In order to understand the work carried out by our coaches, here is an example of a session prepared by them for the school for the deaf and dumb:
- Workshop 1: Warming up phase
4 exercises for the warm-up, which are the following:
- Holding the ball at shoulder height
- Moving the ball around the hips
- Ball between the legs
- Throwing the ball and catching it
5 minutes were allocated to each of these exercises. Then, the coaches supervised the static stretching; this was followed by getting the children well rehydrated.
- Workshop 2: Working the ball
Objective: hold the ball with 2 hands at shoulder height without dropping it over the entire duration of a course. Once this course is finished, the player must pass the ball to the next player who will complete the course in turn (in the form of a relay) Variables: modify the route of the course.
A maximum of passages on the previous workshop in 1 minute!
2:30 p.m., Wednesday April 27, Idriss and Jacques returned to Cameroon, leaving their know-how behind. Their next trip will be at the end of May for a new mission with the primary objective: to take stock of the achievements of national coaches over the period of one month since the departure of the SBA.
Finally, to add to the beautiful story, Jacques, at the end of his mission in Bangui, was able to buy a computer for himself and “enter the computer world”!
Jacques avec son ordinateur portable
Here are also some photos ©IFJD – Institut Louis Joinet 2022 taken during the first mission:
Report written by Nathan Barbier
Translation: Katy Birgé-Wilson