Emalahleni Girls’ Challenge encourages football for girls

Trevor mainParticipation in the tournament has grown rapidly, with more and more girls looking at football as their sport of choice and no longer as a sport reserved for the boys

In August 2013 the first Emalahleni Girls’ Challenge took place in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, with four girls’ football teams participating.

This year’s tournament, at the Pumas Rugby Stadium in Emalahleni on Saturday 9 August and Sunday 10 August, will feature eight girls’ football teams from around the country and aims to push women’s football higher up on the country’s agenda.

Created in July of 2013 by the Sport Wrap Foundation, the Emalahleni Girls’ Challenge is aimed at encouraging girls’ participation in the sport and acknowledging the girls in the community who play the sport.

The Sport Wrap Foundation, based in Mpumalanga, was established in 2011, and focused on developing the game for boys in the Emalahleni area.

In 2013, Trevor Dube, organiser and founder of the Sport Wrap Foundation and the Emalahleni Girls’ Football movement, noticed his eight-year-old daughter’s interest in his work as a sports anchor. He realised something needed to be done about the lack of girls in sports in the area, and a lack of acknowledgement for those girls already involved in sport.

In July 2013 he approached Kaizer Chiefs football club; it responded by providing kit and equipment for the teams involved.

Participation in the tournament has grown rapidly, with more and more girls looking at football as their sport of choice and no longer as a sport reserved for the boys.

“We also invite scouts [to the tournament] to come tap into the local talent because now we all know sports is changing the lives of many South Africans,” Dube says.

Living in townships such as Emalahleni comes with its fair share of problems but the Emalahleni Girls’ challenge is giving young women a space to develop positively.

“It’s quite sad to see our leaders talking about teenage pregnancy and kids abusing drugs [because] there are no programmes to help the kids to keep away from such,” Dube explains.

“This tournament, we celebrate girls and woman who are in sports and also give them hope that through education and sports they will make it in life.”

Trevor 4Living in townships such as Emalahleni comes with its fair share of problems but the Emalahleni Girls’ challenge is giving young women a space to develop positively

ABOUT TREVOR DUBE

Dube grew up in a sporting family, and has played for various local teams in his home city of Emalahleni. He was scouted at high school and offered a place at the Pretoria-based Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club, one of South Africa’s biggest football clubs.

Dube joined the Sundowns academy during the 2004-2005 season and played under the management of former Bafana Bafana great, Neil Tovey, and the late Joas Magolego.

“I also had a dream to be part of the first team one day but my dreams perished when Gordon Igesund took over,” Dube says.

Now Dube is a sports anchor for a local radio station.