We have been hosting ‘Friendship Games’ since 2009, with the concept of building bridges between different communities, and learning how to play with one another, not against one another.
Since 2008, we have been offering Futsal coaching courses in South Africa and other African nations. Futsal is the answer to introducing football into primary and high schools in the continent, contributing not only to the improvement of the players’ tactical and technical skills, but also to mass participation (boys and girls) and job creation (players and coaches).
We, along with Ubabalo, CSV Construction and Maties Community Service (MGD Stellnbosch University) have been organising the VriendsCUP (the Friendship Games) since 2010. What makes the VriendsCUP so unique and the first of its kind, is the fact that teams are mixed, and not from only one school. The main purpose of the VriendsCUP is to build bridges and to develop interaction between the learners, parents and teachers of schools in the various local communities. Therefore, none of the participants need to be excellent sportsmen or women. Any learner that wants to have a go at a new sport, get some game time or simply make new friends while kicking or throwing a ball around is welcome.
We have been using this opportunity to expose the learners to concepts such as diversity, acceptance, gender equality, respect and team work. The feedback from the community in general has been very positive. We plan to expand the Games to other areas in the Western Cape and other provinces in the coming year.
As part of CSV Construction’s community project, we have been building sand courts in and around Stellenbosch with the purpose of promoting sport and recreational activities, wellness and mass participation. With the water restrictions and scarcity, the sand courts provide an alternative sport and recreational facility with almost no maintenance costs. Investing in these facilities ensures that communities can engage in sporting activities year-round.
Three schools, namely Rietenbosch and Klapmuts Primary and Luckhoff High School have already benefited from this initiative and the feedback from the principals, teachers, coaches, parents and learners is very positive. The plan is to build another two facilities in 2017.
It’s great that during the World Cup in Brazil people were talking about futsal. I think a lot of people still don’t realise there is an elite level here in England and great growth at the grassroots level. Obviously Baku are doing really well in the elite level. Futsal is a great game, it just needs people to be aware of it. Once the awareness is there, the game is just going to grow so fast and become a really important sport in England.