SA launches schools football WC

13 May 2008

The Moletsane Sports Complex in Soweto, to the southwest of Johannesburg, was awash with activities last Saturday, with the official launch of the South African Schools Football World Cup Partnership.

The partnership is an initiative lead by the Department of Education, the Department of Sport and Recreation, the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in an effort to educate and get some 12-million South African school pupils – both boys and girls – excited about hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Education Minister Naledi Pandor, Deputy Sport and Recreation Minister Gert Oosthuizen, LOC chairman Irvin Khoza, LOC communications director Tim Modise, Bafana Bafana legend Phil Masinga, various government officials and SABC representatives attended the launch.

The launch of the partnership on 10 May coincided with the election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s first democratic president in 1994, and music, dance and cheer was the order of the day as groups from participating schools shared the stage and rendered cultural items to the delight the crowd.

Confederations Cup, World Cup inspiration

Saturday’s launch saw the start of the first phase of the competition, with the tournament being rolled out in two phases. The first phase will be organised along the lines of the Confederations Cup and the second phase the actual World Cup.

For each of the phases, the schools that participate will assume the identities of the participating countries, with all schools being encouraged to fly the national flag, sing the national anthem and engage in other activities, such as preparing the national food of the country they represent.

The participating schools last week were Lavela Secondary, Emdeni High School, Zithathele Primary School, Ekuphumeleleni Primary, Progress, Winnie Ngwekazi High, Moletsane Secondary and Kliptown Secondary.

“The World Cup is going to involve all South Africans, Africans and particularly South African children,” said master of ceremonies Modise, adding that the partnership gave students and opportunity to participate actively in the World Cup.

Diverse cultures

Pandor meanwhile made an avid appeal to all participating schools pupils to learn as much as they can about the countries they will be representing in the tournaments.

“In this way we are then preparing our young people to enjoy the World Cup with a key understanding of the diverse world we leave in, we are encouraging young people to know about other countries and their cultures,” she said.

Pandor added that the initiative was also aimed at luring school children away from the streets and inappropriate habits, and encourage them to engage in healthy lifestyles.

“The launch of this partnership in Soweto must motivate us to use school sport to encourage physical activities and healthy lifestyles,” she said. “The competition must also remind us about our commitment to the HIV/Aids awareness campaign, to our commitment to anti-doping and to our commitment to prevent substance abuse among young people and our citizens generally.”

Spreading the message

Khoza said the 12-million school children being targeted by the initiative would help spread the message about the World Cup to families and communities.

“Consequently schools have been identified as a primary vehicle to take the Fifa 2010 World Cup messages not only to children, but indeed to families and to communities of South Africa and also the African continent,” he said.

The 2010 Fifa World Cup School Campaign is built on three key pillars namely education, development and participation.

“The other goals of the campaign are to ensure the development and implementation of integrative educational campaign aiming at preparing and educating learners and teachers about all aspects of the Fifa World Cup,” said Khoza.

Gert Oosthuizen encouraged fair play throughout the competition and urged learners to stay away from illegal performance enhancers and drugs.

“It is a natural attribute of human beings to compete, but the way in which we compete tears us apart, we need to apply the rules of the game and not cheat,” he said. “We need to ensure that we do not take performance enhancing substances and cheat in a calculated and manipulative way, we also need to say Ke Moja no to drugs.”

Source: South Africa 2010