October 10, 2012: Walking into African Brothers one is greeted by the various famous footballers images painted on the concrete walls. The images are not just the normal faces we all are accustomed to seeing on tv, but rather representing countries from all around the world: Paraguay, Russia, Australia and even North Korea. It is apparent why African Brothers highlights faces from all over the globe, as the group itself is a mix of coaches from Mozambique, Congo, South Africa, Nigeria and others. It is an important part of their definition as a club as it is also part of the academy’s vision of expanding into other countries outside of South Africa. Already clubs are using their logo in other parts of South Africa. Craig would also like to eventually offer resources to these clubs, particularly in regards to their fields. African Brothers has faced many challenges to be what it is today and is still dealing with oppositions
Craig started African Brothers 18 years ago with a partner who was also interested in providing football to more youth in South Africa. Craig personally knew the power of football and its ability to transform lives. He has been involved in all levels of football from playing professionally to coaching to helping a team in the Homeless World Cup. At the African Brothers headquarters in Cape Town Craig has transformed a large plot of land that was once used by prostitutes and drug users into a beautiful community space with 3 five a side courts, tennis courts and a large outdoor grass field. It is truly an amazing place particularly with Table Mountain as the backdraft and on days with sunshine and few clouds in the sky. The courts were always being used, either by youth eager to play and practice their new skills, school classes who didn’t have their own facilities to run around on and young and old professionals playing a game after work. It is amazing to watch Craig maneuver in the place he has created for the community, doing one task after another to ensure that the fields are ready, the children are practicing good behaviors on and off the field and that the coaches are fulfilling all their responsibilities.
Craig and his team of African Brothers have big goals for this safe space as well as for the other fields they are helping to build in
their communities. The coaches are eager to learn more and more so they can too provide fun and interactive training sessions to the variety of youth. As Friday rolled around, the coaches were very appreciative of the hours spent on the field with the Coaches Across Continents teams and were eager to begin putting the games in place. After the coaches had the opportunities to deliver the games learned during the week and successfully testing them out, the program concluded with a wonderful South African braai that included all the staff and youth who participated in a great week of training.