1 March 2010
For a thousand school children in the small town of Mogwase in South Africa’s North West province, excellence on the sportsfield and in the classroom has paid off handsomely.
Lying in the valley just outside Rustenburg, the Holy Family Combined School became the first in the country to benefit from the 2010 Fifa World Cup legacy when 2010 Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan and Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke officiated at a sod-turning at the school.
The event marked the first day of work on the first of 52 football turfs that will be built in each of South Africa’s nine provinces to ensure that the hosting of the World Cup will leave a lasting legacy of decent sporting infrastructure for South Africa’s youngsters.
For 17-year-old student Lerato Seboka, the event was also about uplifting her community.
Bringing people together
“Not everyone has these opportunities,” Seboka said. “This will also bring the people from our different communities together. And it will give people the opportunity to express themselves as well as their potential and their talent.
“Sixty percent of our community is made up of the youth, and if we can change the youth we can change our community,” she said.
The project – an initiative of the Organising Committee’s legacy department – received a R170-million rand donation from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, which will cover the cost of building the first 27 sites. So far, one site has been identified in each of South Africa’s nine provinces.
A hub for sport and community development
Each site will get a clubhouse, ablution facilities, training lights and security fencing, with the aim being to turn each site into a hub for sport and community development.
“After the last game has been played, we don’t want to say thank you South Africa, you have been a good host, goodbye,” Valcke told the children who gathered on the school field.
“We want to make sure we can give to each African country an assurance that in the future there will be football leagues and football academies,” he said, before announcing that every child at the school would receive a ticket to watch a World Cup match at the nearby Royal Bafokeng stadium.
Jordaan encouraged the community of Mogwase to take pride in the project and to look after football turf.
‘Do it in the spirit of the World Cup’
“When you play here, you must remember that there are other youngsters all over the world playing on similar pitches. And when you do anything, you must do it in the spirit of the World Cup. Whatever you are doing, always pursue it in the best way you can,” he said.
Elana Msimang, 15, said she felt privileged that her school – which achieved a 100% pass rate last year – was chosen as the site for the first of many football pitches.
“We now have a safe place to play soccer,” Msimang said. “We are the best performing school in our area, and that is why we get opportunities like this.”
For Goitsemang Molotlegi, 16, the Fifa World Cup will provide the opportunity to see some of his favourite players.
“I am a Portugual fan, but I have to support South Africa,” Molotlegi said. “I am behind South Africa all the way, they are our team. “I think South Africa have been given a chance to prove themselves.”