In a notorious part of north London a local football team is helping to keep kids off the streets, and out of trouble.
Chettle Court Rangers FC is a Sunday league team that is based in the heart of Tottenham. It was set up in 2002 and the club has been bringing the community together for over a decade. The riots that occurred in 2011 are a constant reminder of how fragile community relations are.
Community leaders have long been calling for more community projects to be put in place to rebuild the community. Youngsters in the borough of Haringey are vulnerable to issues such as crime, drugs and obesity, something that is recognized by every member of the coaching staff at the club.
The club was founded by Ricardo Mfuka, and has been helping aspiring footballers realise their dreams for many years. Numerous youngsters have progressed from the team to academy sides such as: Tottenham, Brentford and Barnet.
Although football coaching is the main objective of the club, they also aim to provide youngsters with an environment where they can express themselves both on and off the pitch. The club places strong importance on the kids school performance and has gone as far as refusing to stop them playing if they are not performing well at school. Each coach that is employed has to be FA qualified and also first aid trained to ensure the safety of the players.
Funding cuts from the council, however, have hit the club particularly hard. Head coach Mr Ricardo Mfuka said: “In the last couple of years we have not received as much funding from the council as we have in previous years. It’s affected us so much so that we have had to raise training fees for the kids.”
Kids are now paying £2 per training session and over £50 for the season fee, which covers training kits and medical insurance. The club has a strong relationship with the local community and has employed many locals in various roles. Haringey is a vastly multi-cultural place and this is reflected by the team that play for the football club.
Aspiring coaches have also been helped by the club. An example of this is 20-year-old, Klausen Sadrija, who works as a coach at the club whilst also in full-time education. “I have been coaching here for a while now and it’s really helped me develop as a coach because it’s not easy to get a job, especially around here.”
The majority of youngsters who attend are from the borough of Haringey, although kids from neighbouring boroughs are also in regular attendance helping to reduce tension and gang culture, between those from different areas. The club has six 6 sides competing in the Waltham Forest league with ages ranging from 7-16.
Head coach Ricardo Mfuka adds: “We try to create an environment where kids from any walk of life have the chance to improve themselves as footballers, or as people.”