Football is not yet so popular in Cuba. Nevertheless the Cuban government has declared football to be the sport of the 21st century. The Cubans want to promote this sport so that they can then compete internationally. And that explains why the Cuban football association is very interested in Camaquito’s children’s football project. This year the Cuban football association is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Cubans have not yet gathered too much experience with children's football, e.g. letting eight year-olds play with an 11er ball – which, as far as we know, is not the best way to assist a child's development. In Europe 5:5 or 4:4 have been shown to be the ideal training methods. Playing on a small-sized pitch brings several advantages,:
-simplified overview of the pitch dimesions
-more contact with the ball
-each child has more opportunity to score
-more children (up to 100) can train on a normal pitch
Happily, since 2011 we have been able to use the 7er ball in Camagüey U-12 football tournaments. The aim of the Camagüey pilot project is to spread usage of the 7er ball right across Cuba.
In Cuba, sport (including football) has close links to education. There are no clubs. Instead sports are organised by the school and the sports organization I.N.D.E.R. (National Sport Institution)
In addition to the mandatory 3 x 40 minutes sports classes every week, the children and adolescents can take one additional class from 16.20 until 18.00, selected from a mandatory list in the categories sport, art, music and theatre. Amongst the various sports offered (basketball, volleyball, baseball, track and field, martial arts, judo, chess and handball) there is also football.
In practice, the offer is not as diverse, since materials are frequently missing. The organization is in place, but the implementation often does not work.