Community Champions League at Vålerenga Samfunn: Interview with Kamal
The Community Champions League is well underway and there are reports of high commitment and great interest around the league. On that occasion, Håvard Olsen, intern at Vålerenga Samfunn, Sport Management student at the Norwegian Sports Academy, had a chat with Kamal Saliti, one of the leaders of the school teams from Apalløkka school to hear about his and the students’ impression of the football league with a strong focus on the social.
Community Champions League is arranged for 9th graders from various schools around Oslo. What distinguishes this football league from a regular one is that good attitudes and contributions to the local community are at least as important as the actual result of the football matches. The teams get 1/3 of the points through good attitudes, 1/3 for contributions to their local environment in addition to 1/3 based on the result in the matches. For example, points for good attitudes can be collected by following Fair Play rules while contributing to the local community can be picking up rubbish. In addition, there are mixed teams with boys and girls.
Students take initiative and responsibility
The school teams from Apalløkka school are one of the schools that have been among the most eager for the project and have made several different social contributions in the local community.
“Many of the students have turned up at 0700 before school starts and made buns which they have distributed to children and adults when they arrive at school. They are involved and take responsibility for the breakfast offer we have on Wednesdays and also at the Apalløkka leisure program. In connection with the TV campaign and the reflex day, we were on the subway and handed out free coffee and reflex at the same time as we encouraged people to go as gay bearers. Some of the students have also collected money for the Poor House, I think they have collected more than NOK 5,000 in just a few days.”Kamal Saliti
In any case, it should not depend on the efforts of the students at Apalløkka school.
“We have called kindergartens, hospitals and voluntary organizations. Unfortunately, we have received a number of noes due to the corona situation, but we still have a number of thoughts. Our hope and desire is to get even more out into the local community when possible.”Kamal Saliti
How have you achieved when it comes to good attitudes and Fair Play?
“That is impressive. We have students on the team who may have been a bit naughty and such. But then we also see it as an opportunity for these students to have something extra to look forward to and which may make them turn around a bit then. They are positive with both teammates and opponents. What’s so cool is that losing a match in the Community Champions League is not really that dangerous. There is so little point to the match itself. You get three points for winning the match, but you can get 20 points for doing something nice for someone else. Playing the game is really just a bonus. I think they have understood that and are very happy to be part of it.”Kamal Saliti
Saliti also experiences that the students find it rewarding to be involved.
“The students basically join because of the football, and then you notice that a lot of people start to take the initiative in things. One day we added cocoa to approx. 430 students. It is a carrot that you get points for it, but the students have understood and received good feedback from doing things for others that makes them motivated to do more nice things for others. That’s something that makes the Community Champions League so nice. We humans are concerned about being seen. One thing is to be seen by the adults, but in addition to being seen by peers I think means a little extra. It’s just a cocoa, but it still means something. You are appreciated a little extra.”Kamal Saliti
There is little doubt that the commitment around the school teams is great.
“There are very many who ask to join. We find it difficult to say no to students who ask so now we are 24 students divided into two teams. But as I said, we could have been many more. I’m pretty sure we could put up with 4 – 5 teams. What is so nice is that the students we have had to say no to show up and support the team instead of being dissatisfied. There are students who have asked to participate in away matches, and there are always questions about when the next match is and the like.”Kamal Saliti
Do you see that the classroom environment is affected to any degree?
“The teams are students from different classes at the whole stage. But we notice the environment in the step then, we do. It is nice to see that students across the board are also on the same team and get to know each other better there.”Kamal Saliti
Encourages other schools to join
Saliti sums up the Community Champions League at the same time as he makes an appeal to the schools in Oslo:
“A fantastic initiative that I would have liked to have been part of even when I was younger. You love to play football and meet schools from other parts of Oslo. But what’s so great about the Community Champions League is that there are so many other nice things as well. Helping someone else feel good is what makes this a very nice concept. We will always participate in this project and encourage all other schools to join!”Kamal Saliti