Supported by Oldyssey
On the occasion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in France in June 2019, an unusual match took place between the South African national “Soccer Grannies” team, known as Vakhegula-Vakhegula FC, and a French team of women aged 50 to 84 years, who go by the name of “Mamies Foot”.
This unprecedented event, co-organised by Oldyssey, was the catalyst for these French women to start playing football in the long term. In the France–South Africa match, the inexperienced Mamies Foot were beaten 10–0 by their South African counterparts.
The match, which was shown on numerous television channels, showed that football has no age limits or borders. It was a rich human experience, with the players forging strong links despite the language barrier and thus feeling less isolated. More importantly, they realised that playing football made them feel much better physically and that they suffered less from arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. In short, for the French players this intercultural introduction to football by the experienced South African grandmothers had been good for their health.
In partnership with the Beninese association AFRO-BENIN, Oldyssey would like to transfer the initiative to Benin, a country where the mortality rate for older women is much higher than for men. In 2019, AFRO-BENIN set up its first team for older women wishing to play football.
- Promote the playing of sports, particularly football, among women aged over 50 in Benin
- Facilitate the creation of clubs for older persons and organise international friendlies (7-a-side)
- Participate in the 2021 Fútbol + Mujer amateur women’s football tournament organised by San Diego Soccer Women
- Extend the concept to other African countries, in particular Togo and Burkina Faso
- Awareness-raising on the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases that are frequently suffered by older persons
- Recruiting around 30 women players aged 50 to 84 from four local clubs
- Holding training sessions in the gym (to build muscle strength) and on the pitch
- Participating in international tournaments and pairing up with other teams
- Development of clubs for women aged 50 and over to play football
- Around 10 players per club have been selected to be part of a twinning project in France
- Improved mental health and physical condition of participants in the programme