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Edendale Technical Girls U16 football team confident they’ll make the country proud at the PAN African tournament in DRC

The Edendale Technical High School Girls U16 Football Team during their send-off function to the Democratic Republic of Congo to represent South Africa in the PAN African Under-16 football tournament on Tuesday. Picture: Supplied

The Edendale Technical High School Girls U16 Football Team during their send-off function to the Democratic Republic of Congo to represent South Africa in the PAN African Under-16 football tournament on Tuesday. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 16, 2022

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DURBAN - The Edendale Technical Girls High School U16 football team will be travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo to represent South Africa in the PAN African Under 16 football tournament.

The team comprising 17 members (15 players and a coach and manager) was scheduled to depart on Wednesday and return on February 21. The team recently won the National Schools Sport Championships in the Free State.

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Coach Ntombifuthi Khumalo said it took them three years of dedication and preparations to get here.

“We are grateful for the opportunity, and we are confident that we will make our province and South Africa proud.”

During the send-off function for the team on Tuesday, the MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, and her Education counterpart, Kwazi Mshengu, applauded them, adding that sport and education can never be separated as they play a complementary role in the development of young people.

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Mavimbela said the tournament was part of Fifa’s 2020-2023 vision “to make football truly global” and to fulfil its primary mission of making football accessible to all.

“The trip to the DRC is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you as a team because CAF and Fifa have identified South Africa to participate in a pilot inter-school football tournament where you will be joined by five other African countries in Morocco, Benin, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.”

She said the aim of working with the Department of Education was to ensure that school sport once again becomes the centre of attraction to identify more talent in schools through increasing their targets for pupils who participate in school tournaments for the 2022/23 financial year to create more opportunities for them in sports.

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“It is important for pupils, especially girls, to be encouraged to participate in school sports because it helps in identifying talent from an early age and exposes our learners to opportunities like these,” said Mavimbela.

Mshengu said the players were already winners just by qualifying. He said their participation in sport meant they would be spared from social ills.

“Our role is to ensure that these girls are protected from social ills even when they return from the DRC. We need to protect them and ensure that they perform to the best of their abilities. Working with the Department of Sport and Recreation we are at the final stages of signing a memorandum of understanding to revive school sport.”

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