GALA Fairydean Rovers' academy chairman Dave Sparham will fly to Africa this week to spend eight days with hundreds of football-mad Rwandan youngsters.

Set in the heart of the continent, and known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda’s stunning scenery and warm, friendly people make it one of the most remarkable countries in the world.

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But tragically, for most people, the nation is associated with scenes of horror in 1994 when around 1,000,000 people were killed in a 100-day period of genocide.

Dave’s trip is with charity Scottish Football for Rwanda and has been organised by SFA chaplain Mark Fleming and a number of grass roots clubs.

Mr Sparham will join coaches from the SFA, Hearts, Tranent Colts, Spartans, Musselburgh Windsor, Dalkeith Thistle, Currie FC and Gullane.

Over eight busy days, these volunteers will organise fun football sessions for 100s of Rwandan boys and girls, aged four to 18.

They will also spend a day with the Rwanda Women’s Football Association, which is in its early days, to share experiences of how girls football clubs have been developed in Scotland.

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The group will also visit genocide memorial centres, to learn of the horrors that the Rwandan people faced in 1994, and get a better understanding of the challenges facing them in 2020.

In addition to his coaching duties, Dave will be talking equipment to hand over to the youngsters.

He said: “So far we have around 350 pieces of kit and 20 footballs to hand over. I’m really looking forward to the trip.

“We’ll be there for nine days and as well as coaching youngsters and pro youths we will be taking in a professional game.”

“Gala contributed £300 and Tweedbank Thistle have donated £200 and I’d like to thank everyone who has donated strips and money for this cause.”

Mr Fleming said: “These kids play football on land that most Scots wouldn’t walk their dog on.

“No astros, no floodlights, no kit and in some cases no shoes, but they get on with what they’ve got. And they do it with a huge smile and sense of joy. It’s something that really hits home with the Scottish coaches.”