Eagles establish nest in Heideveld

2016-03-22 06:00
Yonrick Isaacs of Woodlands Primary School (left) watches as his teammate Elyaaz Fortune clears the ball from an onrushing Ayabonga Maloyei from Heideveld during Crystal Palace’s visit to the area last week.  PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Yonrick Isaacs of Woodlands Primary School (left) watches as his teammate Elyaaz Fortune clears the ball from an onrushing Ayabonga Maloyei from Heideveld during Crystal Palace’s visit to the area last week. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Crystal Palace Football Club’s foundation visited Heideveld and Hout Bay recently to conduct a series of coaching clinics and host a mini-tournament.

The tournament saw u.11 boys and u.13 girls compete for the right to play at the Barclays Premier League (BPL) Live event, which took place in Camps Bay over the weekend.

However, one of the more important aims of the day in Heideveld was to establish a legacy for Crystal Palace, affectionately known as the Eagles in the region.

The event was facilitated and organised by Active Communities, a British-based organisation with an office in Cape Town, with which Crystal Palace has worked in the past.

Robin Falken, project manager of Active Communities in Cape Town, said having Palace visit Heideveld was significant in itself.

“It is massive for the community as soccer is a major sport in the communities; it is the most dominant and most popular sport throughout.

“These kids often look up to the soccer stars as their role models and for them to get out of the circumstances that they are in,” he said.

Gary Mulcahey, sports development director of the Crystal Palace foundation, said although the first team has been to Cape Town during their pre-season, this has been the first time that the club has had an opportunity to involve itself in community work.

“The club was here pre-season and played some games in the stadium and really enjoyed it and that was one of the reasons which were great when the Premier League announced Cape Town was going to be the venue for BPL Live and we were going to make sure that Crystal Palace was going to have a presence here in the local townships,” he said.

Mulcahey said the aim was to get children to play and enjoy playing in a tournament set-up.

“Speaking to coaches locally, they train a lot, but there are not many competitions like this. That was one area that they wanted to get going.

“Also we are here to see local talent and see what players there are out there.

“If we can do well in the local communities, then these kids will always remember Crystal Palace and the day that they came to them and hopefully we can leave a legacy and they will have a little soft spot for Crystal Palace,” he added.

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