Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Sierra Leone National Men’s Team Ambassador and International Representative, Christian Dauda, underscored the crucial role of youth football development, emphasizing that it is not solely about winning at all costs. Speaking from Monrovia, where he is witnessing the ongoing Mano River Union U-17 Men’s Tournament, Dauda shared insights on the significance of nurturing young talents in the sport.
Dauda acknowledged the challenges faced by the Leone Starlets, who suffered defeats at the hands of their Liberian counterparts in the tournament. Despite the setbacks, he encouraged the players to view youth football as a platform for growth and improvement rather than just a quest for victory.
“Youth Football is all about development and not winning at all cost. It is an interesting and important component of the game,” Dauda stated, emphasizing the need to focus on cultivating the lads to become better footballers for the country’s future.
Applauding the improved performance of the young players, Dauda disclosed that the second defeat was marred by bad officiating, leading even the organizers to issue an apology to the Sierra Leone delegation. He emphasized that youth football development extends beyond technical skills and tactics, playing a pivotal role in physical and mental preparation.
“Through development programs, young footballers learn to maintain a healthy lifestyle on and off the pitch, ensuring they stay fit and ready for extended periods of play,” noted Dauda. He highlighted the importance of mental resilience, enabling players to handle pressure and setbacks, crucial aspects for reaching their full potential.
Dauda elaborated on how youth development programs create opportunities for young players to progress in their football careers. It’s not just about winning games, but this exposure allows players to showcase their abilities and attract the attention of top-level coaches and scouts. This, he emphasized, improves their chances of a successful football career and keeps them engaged in the game for the rest of their lives.
As the Sierra Leone team prepares for their upcoming matches against Liberia on Saturday, December 30th, and Sunday, December 31st, 2023, Dauda concluded by emphasizing the holistic growth that comes from investing in youth development. The team is set to depart for Freetown on January 1, 2024. BT/30/12/2023