Cuba has a solid reputation as a sporting nation. Baseball remains the most popular sport in the country, but football is growing fast, especially among the young. The City of Rotterdam has maintained ties with Havana for over thirty years. And Rotterdam-based company Nirint Shipping – which has had a corporate box at Feyenoord for many years – has been doing business in Cuba for decades, where it organises various local youth sport projects. A youth clinic there in January 2014, which was kicked off by then foreign minister Timmerman to great media interest, was a big success.
More than 500 boys and girls were targeted in last year’s clinic. This year’s clinic focuses on introducing Feyenoord Academy’s training methodology to the country’s youth coaches. A portable street football court will also be offered in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a way of promoting the sport among young people, especially in the old districts of Havana. The Feyenoord coaches will arrange a two-day street football tournament for talented Cuban players.
The Football Association of Cuba and the country’s Ministry of Sport are delighted with the second edition of the Rotterdam initiative and are providing the necessary facilities to make the football week a rousing success. The project is also supported by the Dutch ambassador in Havana and by the Cuban embassy in The Hague.
Gido Vader, International Relations Manager at Feyenoord and delegation leader: ‘Feyenoord is a global club with a Rotterdam mentality. Thanks to the project sponsors we can make a very concrete contribution in Cuba to the continued development of football coaching on the island and the participation of children in sport. We were welcomed with open arms last year, so we are happy to be able to do even more now.’