Hearts coach set for mission to Africa
Hearts academy coach Declan Fergus is heading to Tanzania and South Africa in January to coach underprivileged children for free.
He will hand out Hearts kit and work with charities in local community projects during the two-week trip.
Fergus is in charge of Hearts Under-13s this season and also runs an independent football academy in his own name. He will spend ten days in Tanzania and then travel to Cape Town to pass on his experience of working and living in Scotland.
“I’ve always wanted to go over to Africa and do a charity project and give a bit back,” Fergus, 25, told the Evening News. “The football coaching gives me a way of doing it. The contact came through my old deputy head teacher at Holyrood High School, Mike Knox. He moved over to Africa permanently to head up schools for kids without families and underprivileged kids.
“He is in Tanzania and said it would be a great idea to come over and work with the kids. A big part of it probably won’t be coaching, so I will take part in educational subjects, activities and day-to-day stuff. He said my presence would be good there, just going round classes, going on trips with the children and then putting on some football sessions.
“I’ll hand out some Hearts strips and I will bring equipment over with me to help some of the kids over there. After I’m finished in Tanzania, I go to South Africa to work with the Oasis charity, which is football-orientated.
“I’m putting on a free football camp in South Africa for two or three days, working with a guy called Clifford Martinus in Cape Town.”
Fergus approached Hearts asking them to endorse his trip, which they have agreed to. The diversity of it appeals to the coach, who has set up a Justgiving page to help fund some of the costs involved. “I’m hoping Hearts will help me raise some awareness through their social media. I’ve created a JustGiving page and some parents of the kids I coach have backed me, which is really positive.
“I go abroad a lot through coaching but it’s normally hotels and flights paid, or you’re staying with a family in a four-storey house in America or Canada. That’s great, but this will be completely the opposite.”
• Donate to help pay for Declan’s trip via www.justgiving.com (search for ‘Declan Fergus’)