The dream that started from OFFS

In 1957, the brothers Gigla and Guram Surmava founded F.K. Salkhino in a small town called Martvili. 55 years later their grandson Jesi Surmava carried out an amazing project in the small village Sergieti, where the village’s inhabitant is around 900 families. He established a football academy in the country, and this year he was awarded one of UEFA’s highest awards, the UEFA BEST Grassroot Leader Gold Medal for his projects over the years.

Everything started in 2006 when 21-year-old Jesi attended the training workshop of Open Fun Football School (OFFS) in Borjomi, Georgia, led by Anders Levinsen and the same year participated in the implementation of OFFS project in Martvili Municipality. In the following years, he has got C, B and A license in UEFA training courses for coaches and participated in OFFS and UEFA programs and seminars in Spain, Moldova and Malta. In 2011, he founded a football school in the village Sergieti, which was the first precedent in Georgia when an independent football school was established as a separate legal entity on the balance sheet of the municipality.

Here are some things this young man has accomplished:

  • The Open Fun Football School program was held 5 times in Martvili Municipality, where more than 1050 children with different social statuses participated.
  • The number of football school children in Martvili has increased from 40 to 300 and today the football school has formed all age groups from 8 to 19 years old.
  • Martvili Football School age teams today have 20 coaches, all of whom underwent OFFS training seminars and programs at the beginning of their coaching career.
  • Developed an annual action plan for the development of mass football throughout the municipality, and in accordance with this plan, various types of football tournaments were started.
  • He first found the appropriate area in terms of infrastructure, where after the rehabilitation it would be possible to arrange football infrastructure in accordance with the highest standards and began its gradual development. First, the existing building was taken down and then with the help of Municipal Development Fund and the European Investment Bank it was possible to build a new building and a football field.
  • Jesi Surmava, with years of experience and results, managed, in 2018, to sign a partnership agreement between Martvili Football School and the football team, called Tbilisi “Dinamo”, that has won the most trophies in Georgia. He then began close cooperation with their academy.
  • In 2019, the Georgian Football Federation conducted a categorization process for 94 football schools across the country and selected Sergieti Football School among the 4 best football schools and awarded it the highest: I-Category status.
  • In 2020, UEFA awarded one of UEFA’s highest awards, the UEFA BEST Grassroot Leader Gold Medal, to Jesi Surmava, Head of the Sergieti Football School, for his projects over the years.

By MAMUKA Kvaratskhelia

The manager of Georgian OFFS.