Chance to ‘play like normal kids’

2019-12-03 06:00
Girls and boys showed their footy skills during an eight-week tournament in Ocean View.PHOTO: Sporting Chance

Girls and boys showed their footy skills during an eight-week tournament in Ocean View.PHOTO: Sporting Chance

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More than 100 residents of Ocean View were given the opportunity to take part in a project to uplift the community – and received a much-appreciated reward for their efforts once they were done.

The Sporting Chance Sportsmans Warehouse Street Soccer tournament took place over eight weeks and, despite some gloomy weather, the children of the community were able to play and compete in the sport they love. The tournament also intended to curb gang violence in the community. Coaches and organisers noted a significant reduction in shooting incidents on Fridays when the children were competing.

“For me, this was the first time taking part in anything like that and it was amazing,” says Pauline Robyn, a team coach for the duration of the competition. She adds: “I think it helped a lot because every Friday that we went there to play, there was no shooting – nothing – and no gangsters standing around.”

Many of the coaches who do not have full-time jobs agreed that the tournament gave them purpose and ignited the same feeling of excitement in them that was felt by the children who played the games.

“If I look at the children’s faces, it melts my heart to see them play. We feel like prisoners in our own homes because of the shootings and to see them come out on a Friday to play – they had a chance to be like normal children and play like normal children.”

Franklin Cale, Ubuntu Cape Town’s midfielder, came out to the community to see the sporting action unfold during the final matches held on Friday 22 November.

At the end of the competition, the team named Newcastle walked away as the 2019 champions, taking home the coveted trophy.

Adding to the excitement, Sportsmans Warehouse gave the 120 children who competed and 20 coaches a free pair of Hi-Tec sports shoes each, during the assemblies at Kleinberg Primary and Marine Primary schools on Friday 29 November.

Robyn said this would not have been possible without the organiser of the event; Sporting Chance’s coordinator for Ocean View, Shirley Botes.

Shirley says the success of the event was evident in the children’s eagerness to participate. “One of the boys asked me if we would be playing again next week.”

She hopes to host the tournament again next year to continue to nurture young talent and to curb crime by giving the vulnerable youth a positive outlet.

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