Kids Sport - Fifa Street Soccer with Sporting Chance and Kia (20 May 2011)
Street Soccer with Sporting Chance and Kia
The final whistle of the FIFA 2010 World Cup has blown, but not for South Africa's youth. As part of FIFA's Ticket Fund legacy, "the beautiful game" plays on in the streets, with the launch of the annual Kia Street Soccer league programme for the first time in Port Elizabeth, as well as continuing in three other major cities across the country, giving more boys and girls the opportunity to play whilst also creating jobs.
On 15 April youth sports development agency Sporting Chance, in association with title sponsor KIA Motors, rolled out the national neighbourhood street soccer programme to 4500 boys and girls under the age of 13, in neighbourhood streets in and around Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. Following to the success of the inaugural programme during the 2010 World Cup the project also takes to the streets of Port Elizabeth for the first time this year, empowering and exposing more youth to the valuable lessons of sport.
It isn't only the kids who will benefit from this programme, says Brad Bing Managing Director of Sporting Chance. Local coaches and coordinators have been selected from each community and have received training in coaching and crucial life skills. In addition, a team of 800 are employed on a contractual basis throughout the duration of the Kia Street Soccer programme. "A national project of this scale requires a solid team on the ground to run and implement it and we're extremely grateful to be in the position where we can create employment opportunities for so many members of the communities where the programme takes place," adds Bing.
Being healthy and keeping active are additional critical life skills taught by the programme, which is supported by FIFA and SAFA. For the first phase of the programme a Health Education Road Show visited all the participating communities leading up to the second phase - the start of the league. In addition to activities designed to show and share the importance of physical activity, nutrition, personal hygiene and TB awareness, the sessions also covered key issues of sports etiquette, conflict resolution, and environmental awareness, encouraging learners to take pride in their environment and recycle, not litter.
"The communities in the 30 regions are rife with poverty and crime, lacking in adequate facilities or stimulating after-school and weekend activities. Any activity such as soccer, in these regions, is highly beneficial to the communities it naturally thrives in," says Bing.
Twenty teams of six players each are entered into each regional league. Round robin matches will be played for eight weeks, with weekly sessions of four matches, followed by a week of regional finals and ultimately, the Provincial Festival Finale. This takes place towards the end of June and is sure to be a South African football favourite.
The teams will also meet their favourite South African football heroes during the three month tournament, as they participate and assist with the programme, which will surely help street soccer in South Africa grow its positive influence.
"The street is the perfect venue for kids to come together and do something positive and healthy," says Brad Bing, Managing Director of Sporting Chance. "Many of them have no place to go where they can socialize in a safe and healthy environment. Why not turn the streets we have for too long perceived as being dangerous, into a stage where life lessons can be taught, friendships forged and communities entertained?" says Bing.
"The impact street soccer has on the thousands of children that participate in the programme is evident as they proudly wear their 'home team colours' and by the numbers of family and friends that turn out to support the initiative," continues Bing. "Not only do these children learn vital skills, both on and off the football pitch they develop a sense of pride amongst their team members and communities. The ongoing benefit in their lives has a positive impact throughout the community and ultimately, the country.
"The 2010 Soccer World Cup must be more than a pleasant memory for South Africans," said Kia Motors South Africa CEO Ray Levin. "It must leave a lasting legacy of promise, showing all South Africans that dreams can come true, even for the most humble. This is the time to grab the excitement generated by Bafana Bafana and carry it through to grass roots level. Although these events aren't on the level of FIFA's, street soccer certainly has a community appeal as large as its benefits."
Programme organiser Brad Bing concurs. "Sport is such a powerful catalyst in this country. It has the power to transform lives. Now is the time to capitalise on 2010's soccer madness."