Johannesburg – Young soccer stars from around the country are jetting to Gauteng this weekend to compete in the Kia Street Soccer Championship final.
On Saturday, the young players will go head-to-head against the winning provincial teams from the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, at Moloto Street in Dobsonville, Soweto. Kick off is at 11am.
Each of the non Gauteng-based teams will be flown to Johannesburg where sponsors will host the competition’s ultimate clash.
Six months ago, Sporting Chance rolled out the national neighbourhood street soccer programme to 6000 boys and girls under the age of 13 in communities in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Welkom. In total, 800 teams of six players each have participated in regional leagues since May. Weekly round robin matches have been followed by regional finals and ultimately provincial finals, held in August.
The Kia Street Soccer programme teaches life skills through the game of soccer. Communities in the 40 regions are hindered by poverty and crime, and are lacking in adequate and safe facilities as well as stimulating after-school and weekend activities.
"We are thrilled to see the streets of South Africa coming together in the spirit of fun, sportsmanship and healthy living," said Brad Bing, Managing Director of Sporting Chance. "The finalists have a wonderful opportunity to meet kids from all over South Africa, making lasting friendships while soaking up all the good values this programme engenders."
Since its inception in 2010, Kia Street Soccer, which is part of the World Cup Legacy Programme, has doubled in size from 3000 participants to 6000 in 2013, increasing from 20 to 40 regions around South Africa. "We hope to continue to increase the number of children playing football and use this captivating and compelling game to engage and empower on a grand scale," said Kia Motors South Africa CEO Ray Levin. – Supplied