9 years ago
The Danone Nations Cup is the world’s biggest football tournament for children aged 10-12. Every year, around 2.5million children take part in local, regional and then national competitions involving 34,000 schools, to qualify for the finals.
A squad of 12 were chosen to represent England, after beating off competition from teams across the country in a series of interschool events in order to qualify. The finals were held at the World Cup stadium Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.
The tournament is endorsed by former French footballer Zinedine Zidane, who has served as an ambassador since 2003. This year’s final saw Japan beat Paraguay 1-0 to win the cup.
The team, made up of players from the Lewisham Primary School League, was established and managed by national green services provider Glendale, as part of its contract with Lewisham Borough Council – a partnership which has spanned more than 14 years.
The company helps manage and coordinate the league as part of a project with the council’s sports development team.
Boys and girls from 30 primary schools across the borough make up the league, which consists of 65 teams.
Glendale’s partnership with the council was the first of its contracts to incorporate events management and sports development, alongside its traditional services. It delivers a range of services in the borough, including sports pitch maintenance and promotion.
Paul Harper, sports development officer for Glendale’s Lewisham contract, is a league organiser and travelled to Brazil with the team and coached them throughout the tournament.
Paul said: “To take part in a tournament like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these children, and they did themselves proud, placing 12th overall out of 32 teams.
“Our contract with Lewisham Borough Council has the community at the heart of the work we carry out, and events like this help to re-establish a sense of local and national pride, while continuing to provide opportunities for young people.”
The green services company cuts around 2,962,000m2 of grass every day, which equates to almost 500 football pitches.
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