Encouraging Future Generations

Fair Play

Football has the ability to unite people. It also has the ability to change young lives, shows social entrepreneur Florian Zech’s Amandla EduFootball, which is one of the 10 shortlisted social ventures for the Investment Ready Program, to which Allianz is lending its expertise under a partnership with Impact Hub.

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Amandla Edufootball

Image copyright: AMANDLA EduFootball 2018

When FC Bayern Munich takes on the Sevilla team in the Champions League quarter-finals on April 11, its stars Frank Ribery and Jerome Boateng will also make a statement for hope.

Ribery and Boateng today have millions of fans across the world. But few are aware of the adversities they have fought through in their journey to fame and fortune. Coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, they had little to get a head-start in life. What they did have is potential, passion and a few good coaches who believed in them.

Florian Zech hopes to be one such life coach to aspiring Riberys and Boatengs. The 31-year-old German is founder of ‘Amandla EduFootball’, a football academy that provides kids from underprivileged backgrounds a chance to reach their potential. Zech’s social venture is among the 10 shortlisted for the Investment Ready Program, to which Allianz is lending its expertise under a partnership with Impact Hub.

Under the program, the ventures are being trained and mentored in scaling up the business. They also stand to win a grant of 40,000 euros from Allianz when they pitch their business ideas at an event in June this year.

Lost childhood

Twelve-year-old Patrick Sogala* plays like his idol Ribery in midfield. A year ago, the orphaned 12-year-old from Khayelitsha in South Africa was a runner for a gang. Patrick skipped school often, struggled to survive, and shared the hopelessness of many teenagers who experience violence and poverty on the streets of South Africa.

Zech’s ‘Safe Hub’ in Khayelitsha – which sports a football field, an education center and meeting rooms – provided Patrick a shelter from the storm as well as a chance to be a child.

Since the first Safe Hub was founded in 2007, Amandla has built 200 football teams in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu-Manenberg and Diepsloot in South Africa, supervised by 30 coaches and youth workers. As many as 30 percent of these kids are girls.

Zech and his partner, Ole Brandmeyer, are now exporting their Safe Hub model to Berlin, Germany.

* name changed to protect identity

Amandla EduFootball

Image copyright: AMANDLA EduFootball 2018

Emotional and physical security

Coaches at Amandla support the young footballers on the field and educators strengthen their social and cognitive skills through courses. But safety – emotional and physical – remains the priority. Each Safe Hub has fences, floodlights, lockable rooms and access control.

The often-disturbed teenagers are taught to manage conflicts, explore personal strengths and discover dormant talents. For many of these young people, this is their first experience of a respectful and supportive relationship.

The results are measured and the positive effects are for all to see: A ‘fair play scale’ reads their social skills after 10 months and so far, the improvements observed have been remarkable. Patrick visits Amandla Safe Hub every day.

For now, he plans to be a car mechanic when he grows up. But that could change as the years roll by.

Image copyright: AMANDLA EduFootball 2018

The future is now

Other than supporting social entrepreneurs, Allianz has several youth development initiatives in the offing. Among them is the Allianz Junior Football Camp.

The 10th edition of the camp kicks off this summer. Youngsters from more than 20 countries will participate in the camp and get a chance to toss the football around with some FC Bayern Munich players.


The future lies in the youth. The better we develop our youth today, the more sustainable our tomorrow will be.

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