A Sutton-based football coach has just completed an empowering trip to South Africa.

Michael Harrington, a sports development officer at the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, carried out a tour of duty in Bloemfontein.

The programme sees three charities come together to improve the lives of young people growing up in South Africa.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation, the Crystal Palace FC Foundation and the Kagisho Dikgacoi Foundation launched the couching programme to help underprivileged 18-24 year-olds.

Mr Harrington said: "It’s been fantastic and I will take back with me the enthusiasm and spirit of young people who are part of the change in what is such a beautiful country."

Moranile Metsing, one of the 32 youngsters who took part, said: "The course was a great experience for me.

"I really enjoyed all the sessions. I really wish today was not the end of it"

Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi launched his foundation to help kids in the country he hails from.

He said: "Poverty is the main factor that affects young people and their chances of reaching their potential not only in South Africa but the whole of Africa.

"We are a talented country sports-wise but because we have a lack of infrastructure and poverty.

"However to be in my own home town today to see something that is doing something about it is great. This was only a pilot in what I want to be a much bigger programme"

David Groves, chair of trustees for the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, said. "I’m sure many Crystal Palace FC fans already know that we were the first club to play in South Africa at the end of Apartheid.

"I remember flying out there myself in 1992 and it’s a real privilege to be supporting KG and his vision for his home country. We are one Club, One Community"