The graduation ceremony at the end of the practical part of the seminar was attended by Lise Klaveness, the first woman at the head of the Norwegian Football Federation and former national team player of this country, the Norwegian ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Olav Reinertsen and the BH FF President, Vico Zeljković.
This was the final fifth seminar as defined in the Memorandum on Cooperation on the Development of Women’s Football in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was signed at the beginning of 2019 by the FA of Norway and the BH FF.
Within the practical part, a football festival for girls was held, and the participants were members of the ŽNK “Respekt” Sarajevo club, as well as female pupils from the elementary schools “Hasan Kaimija”, “Behaudin Selmanović”, “Sokolje” and “Pofalići”. With their playfulness and smiling faces, they showed how important it was to play sports, socialize, but also to enjoy mastering football skills.
After the diplomas were distributed to the young female football players and the photo shoot was completed, in a cheerful mood and despite the “defeat” from the team in which the president of the Norwegian Football Federation, Lise Klaveness, played, the ambassador of Norway to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Olav Reinertsen, among other things, said:
“Through this Project, we have been cooperating with the countries of the Western Balkans for many years and very successfully. Over 120 women from all over B&H were involved and went through this educational program. I think it is very important for B&H as well, for reconciliation, promotion of women’s football and gender equality. I believe that all the participants have a positive experience and that it will help them to fulfil their dreams and build a career, not only by playing football, but also by being involved in various structures of the social environment.”
The Project, which includes the education of female coaches through various theoretical and practical activities, and the development of grassroots football for girls from seven to 12 years of age, has been successfully completed, as confirmed by the NFF President, Lise Klaveness:
“The Government of Norway finances this Project in more than 15 countries, and it has gone best and is the most successful in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was well received by the girls who were very motivated to work. If the Government decides to continue with this Project, we, as a Federation, are ready, we have the capacity, coaches who can adequately transfer knowledge, a good relationship with our Embassy here and with the BH FF.”
Klaveness also added: “In Norway, we have a lot of people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who now live there, so this comes as a cultural exchange and a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better. When it comes to football, I believe that the leadership of the BH Federation will find ways to invest and promote women’s football even more. In Europe, the differences between men’s and women’s football are decreasing more and more, so it is important to act proactively in different segments, from sponsors, media, etc.”
Presenting the diplomas to the coaches, the BH FF President, Vico Zeljković, thanked for the help and support provided by the Embassy of Norway in B&H and the Norwegian Football Federation and emphasized:
“We want to make a step forward in the development of women’s football in B&H, and for that we need qualified personnel. Increasing interest in football among girls and generally raising the quality of women’s football are among the important strategic goals of the Federation in the coming period. Our long-term project is to enable the development of clubs, leagues, and thus national teams through work with the younger categories and raising the quality of those ages.”
Senior expert for women's football in the BH FF, Ivana Vlaić, made an exceptional contribution to the successful completion of this Program, and the effects are already visible in practice:
“The final result of the cooperation with the Norwegian Federation is the formation of 15 new teams in our country in different age categories. What personally surprised me the most was the number of young girls who applied to attend this Program, and 52 of them successfully completed it. And not only that, but also the fact that they were extremely motivated, hard-working, and performed all tasks with great enthusiasm. It would mean a lot to us if the cooperation would continue through some other form, considering the effect of the “Girls Football Coaching Course” Program, concluded Vlaić.