Going nuts for street football

Panna football is very popular in Europe
Panna football is very popular in Europe

A STREET football craze that has become a cult hit across Europe is coming to Garstang.

Primary school PE teacher Gaz Elsdon is to start ‘Panna’ football sessions at Garstang Leisure Centre from March 17, aimed at youngsters aged six to 14.

Panna is a new form of street football that originates from Holland. Panna is the Surinamese/Dutch slang term for playing the ball through the legs of your opponents, known here as a ‘nutmeg’.

Unlike football games, Panna is all about individual technique and skill.

The game involves playing one-on-one or two-on-two in an inflatable football pitch or cage played to music, indoor or outdoor.

The games last for just three minutes and the game is over if you ‘nutmeg’ your opponent.

Gaz has been teaching at Nateby, Dolphinholme and recently Winmarleigh primary schools under the business Fun-Time Football, and over the past few few years has been organising Panna and freestyle sessions to improve youngster’s ball skills and technique.

Now he says he’s ready to open up these Panna sessions with a dedicated, regular slot at the leisure centre on Saturday mornings.

There will be special imported inflatable Panna pitches to contain the game, a sound system to play music and it promises to be fast and fun, with new games starting every three minutes so everyone gets plenty of action.

Gaz says: “I have been running Panna sessions as an after school club at Nateby and the children love it.

“It brilliant because it’s one v one so there is no child that feels left out, everybody gets to play and try new skills.

“I want to give children somewhere to go that’s fun, safe and somewhere they can learn and play with their mates while having fun.’’

Older teenagers can even get the chance to progress into coaching at the sessions and Gaz is offering work experience to high school age students, with one success story already.

He continues: “I had a lad come and help last year and I’ve just sent him and his mum some information about the first coaching award you can take while you’re still at school.

“He`s now booked on the course and will be helping with the Panna sessions. He is also looking to do a coaching course at college which is great.’’

The Panna sessions will cost £2 for a two hour session, 10.30am to 12.30pm. Just turn up on the day or for more details contact Gaz Elsdon at: fun-time-football@hotmail.com or call 07530720752.