From here to Africa
By ADRIAN MILLER
ONE OF Football Far North Coast's (FFNC) main objectives is to foster the growth of soccer in our area, but after a generous donation from the organisation and some leg work from Lismore couple Richard and Tracey Buss, locals aren't the only players they're helping.
And it could well be that the future stars of South African soccer grow up playing in Soccer FNC gear after they donated 35kg of playing equipment to the black, underprivileged Nottingham Road Combined High School in KwaZulu Natal Province.
The Buss family travelled to South Africa to visit family and friends, but rather than taking just themselves, they were loaded with Soccer Far North Coast playing tops, dress shirts, training tops, shorts and track suits.
"When we were planning the visit to South Africa, we asked FFNC if they had any sports gear we could give to the school," Mr Buss said.
"They donated shirts, shorts, track suits ... everything but socks.
"They were really helpful. They gave freely and really assisted us in making it happen."
FFNC and the couple ended up donating two full kits of playing gear to the high school's boys and girls soccer teams.
The area surrounding the school is farming country and most of the pupils come from impoverished families who have to walk many kilometres each day just to attend classes.
"My parents have a farm a few kilometres down the road from the school and the farm manager's three children go there," Mr Buss said.
"The school doesn't have any sporting gear and it was just something we could do for them.
"It's all old representative stuff branded as Soccer FNC before they changed their name and it's practically brand new.
"The kids and the school can't afford any gear so they normally play in whatever they can find."
Even though the school was closed for the holidays and they couldn't hand the equipment over personally, Mr Buss said the students were thrilled with the gear.
"In a letter from my parents they wrote the pupils were delighted.
"That's just the best news ? it's like winning lotto for them.
"FFNC is all about developing junior soccer players and helping juniors out and it's great they're doing this on an international level."
And it seems the donation won't be a one-off.
Mrs Buss said FFNC had already approached them with offers of more gear and they were hopeful of starting a company which would regularly donate equipment to South Africa.