“Knowing Christ is the best thing that has ever happened to me, although winning the US Open was a pretty good second.”
Togo is a small French speaking country in West Africa. It came to prominence as a footballing nation when it qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. At a training conference in Côte d'Ivoire, Stuart met Aimé, who runs football coaching and teams for 45 girls - Le centre de formation de football féminin. In January 2009 Stuart visited Aimé to see how Verité Sport could make a contribution to his ministry.
Kazakhstan has been an independent country since 1991. It borders China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan but is part of Europe for football and is even in England's World Cup qualifying group. Dima and Margo are pioneers of sports ministry in Ost-Kamenogorsk, close to the Chinese border. Stuart visited Dima and Margo in 2008 and acts as a mentor/encourager. Verité Sport is sponsoring the publication in Kazakhstan of the Russian edition of the book Born to Play (by Graham Daniels and Stuart Weir). In 2009 Verité Sport will sponsor the city schools' basketball tournament which Dima and Margo run as part of their ministry to teenagers in the city.
Another former Soviet Republic, Ukraine has been independent since 1991. Like Kazakhstan, Ukraine is in England's World Cup qualifying group! Ukraine is a co-host of the 2012 European Football championship. When Stuart visited Ukraine in 2008, he was impressed with the amount of football ministry taking place but also noted that none of the coaches were qualified. Verité Sport will partner with Ambassadors in Sport to offer a Level 1 coaching course to 20 Ukrainians in May 2009 to equip them for the ministry they are involved it. Verité Sport sponsored the publication of the book Born to Play in Ukrainian.
Pranee is a staff worker for Athletes in Action in Chang Mai, Thailand. As president of the Chang Mai Softball Association, a member of the Thai National Softball Committee and a student on an MSc in Sports Science, Pranee is at the heart of Thai sports culture. Verité Sport will provide funding for softball equipment and books for her course.
From February to April 2009, Victor will organize a cricket tournament in Lahore. The aims of the tournament are:
1. To share the love of Christ with cricket players;
2. To bring unity, harmony and peace in Pakistan;
3. To direct the energies of cricket players that they become useful and responsible citizens;
4. To provide opportunity to players to polish their talents.
Verité Sport will help sponsor the tournament. This is part of an ongoing partnership with Victor which has already resulted in the publication in Urdu of Born to Play, What the book says about sport (by Stuart) and our 2007 Cricket World Cup booklet.
Republic of Congo
The Republic of Congo - also known as Congo Brazzaville - is North of the river Congo. (DR Congo, formerly Zaire, is south of the river). Independent from France since 1960, the country has a population of 3 million. In 2007 Stuart spoke at a conference in Brazzaville. In 2008 Verité Sport provided resources for a football coaching project in Brazzaville. In late 2009 Stuart will visit Congo again.
3000 copies of What the book says about sport were printed in French in DR Congo in 2008. Distribution is a challenge but we have so far managed to get supplies to DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
In 2008 Born to Play was published in Ukrainian. A Russian edition for Kazakhstan and a Kinyarwandan version for Rwanda are in progress.
In 2009 we will seek to assist partners with publishing projects.
In 2008 we were able to give computers to two more sports ministry leaders in Africa (a total of five since 2006). In 2009 we will look for additional needy partners. Through the generosity of the Football Association we have been able to supply football kit to partners in Niger and Mozambique. In 2009 Stuart will be aiming to take kit with him on every trip.