Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reflects on his personal and footballing journeys in a powerful new documentary by BT Sport Films which explores the positive influence football has on young people.
Fronted by BT Sport ambassador Oxlade-Chamberlain, Football Stories with The Ox, premieres on BT Sport 2 on Sunday May 31 at 3.30pm, and charts football-inspired success stories including Matty from Sheffield and Eladi from Tanzania. Matty, who at one time was unemployed and suffered with low self-esteem, used the confidence gained from football charity Street League to secure employment as trainer assistant, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. The film explores how football is used in different settings to inspire young people and assist them in creating more positive futures for themselves.
In Tanzania, the film also features Eladi, a young person with HIV. Eladi, through TackleAfrica, was able to come to terms with his illness and used the sport to gain confidence and integrate back into his community.
The documentary explores the work of Street League, which works with unemployed young people, in Sheffield, where unemployment has been an issue and TackleAfrica, a charity that uses football to educate young people about HIV awareness in Tanzania. Both charities have been funded by The Supporters Club, BT Sport’s initiative that aims to build a better world through sport.
The documentary follows 20-year old Matty, a Street League graduate who gained the confidence to find work in the fire service. In the film, Matty visits the academy in Sheffield, drawing on his own experiences to pass on advice to the new academy of young people and talk about how football helped him realise his personal goals.
The film also follows 18-year-old Monica in Tanzania, a football coach who started out as a footballer in one of TackleAfrica’s programmes, and Hilda, a former Tanzanian national football star who runs the charity’s football sessions. After losing her aunt and guardian to an HIV-related illness, Monica was left to care for her elderly mother and young sister, consequently dropping out of school. TackleAfrica provided her with the education and support needed to get her life back on track.
‘The Ox’ talks openly about the issues that the young people in the film are facing, while reflecting on how important football was to his own personal development. He said: “You cannot over-estimate the positive impact that football has on young people. I’ve experienced it myself in my own career first hand through my career with Southampton, Arsenal and England. The stories of Bashir, Matty and Eladi and others in this film are a real inspiration.”
The Supporters Club will join forces with The Arsenal Foundation and Arsenal in the Community next season to support the Premier League Employability Scheme to allow more young people access to training and preparation to enter the world of work.
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