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SPORTING CHANCE AND FIFA’S TICKET FUND LAUNCH KIA STREET SOCCER 2011

April 11, 2011

Cape Town‘s Sporting Chance teams up with SA’s finest sponsors to give South African football an uplifting boost in local communities.

The final whistle of the FIFA 2010 World Cup has blown, but not for South Africa’s youth. As part of FIFA’s Ticket Fund legacy, “the beautiful game” plays on in the streets, with the launch of the annual Kia Street Soccer league programme in four major cities across the country.

On 15 April, Sporting Chance, in association with title sponsor KIA Motors and associate sponsors Foodzone, Dawn Wing, Supersport Let’s Play, Good Hope FM and East Coast Radio, will roll out the national neighbourhood street soccer programme that will reach 4500 boys and girls under the age of 13, empowering and exposing them to have a brighter future through the valuable lessons of sport. The teams will also get to meet their favourite South African football players throughout the three month tournament as they participate and assist with the programme, which will surely help street soccer in South Africa grow its positive influence.

Conceptualised and co-ordinated by youth sports development agency based in Cape Town, Sporting Chance, the Kia Street Soccer programme, supported by FIFA and SAFA, teaches life skills through the game of soccer, to kids who need it most, where they need it most.  Their communities in the 30 regions are rife with poverty and crime, lacking in adequate facilities or stimulating after-school and weekend activities. Thus making activities such as soccer in Soweto and the likes as highly beneficial to the communities it naturally thrives in.

“The street is the perfect venue for kids to come together and do something positive and healthy,” says Brad Bing, Managing Director of Sporting Chance.  “Many of them have no place to go where they can socialize in a safe and healthy environment.  Why not turn the streets we have for too long perceived as being dangerous, into a stage where life lessons can be taught, friendships forged and communities entertained?”

Kia Street Soccer games will hit neighbourhood streets with round robin matches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Durban.  Twenty teams of six players each are entered into each regional league.  Round robin matches will be played for eight weeks, with weekly sessions of four matches, followed by a week of regional finals and ultimately, the Provincial Festival Finale, which takes place towards the end of June and is sure to be a South African football favourite.

Being healthy and keeping active are additional critical life skills taught by the programme and felt to be necessary due to the current absence of these subjects in the national schools’ curriculum. For the first phase of the programme a Health Education Road Show visited all the participating communities leading up to the second phase – the start of the  league. In addition to activities designed to show and share the importance of physical activity, nutrition, personal hygiene and TB awareness, the sessions also covered key issues of sports etiquette, conflict resolution, and environmental awareness, encouraging learners to take pride in their environment and recycle, not litter.

It isn’t only the kids who will benefit from this programme, says Brad Bing.  Local coaches and coordinators will be selected from each community and will receive training in coaching and crucial life skills.  In addition, a team of 800 are employed on a contractual basis throughout the duration of the Kia Street Soccer programme. “A national project of this scale requires a solid team on the ground to run and implement it and we’re extremely grateful to be in the position where we can create employment opportunities for so many members of the communities where the programme takes place,” adds Bing.

“The 2010 Soccer World Cup must be more than a pleasant memory for South Africans,” said Kia Motors South Africa CEO Ray Levin.  “It must leave a lasting legacy of promise, showing all South Africans that dreams can come true, even for the most humble.  This is the time to grab the excitement generated by Bafana Bafana and carry it through to grass roots level. Although these events aren’t on the level of FIFA’s, street soccer certainly has a community appeal as large as its benefits.”

Programme organiser Brad Bing concurs. “Sport is such a powerful catalyst in this country.  It truly has the power to transform lives.  Now is the time to capitalise on 2010’s soccer madness.”

For more information contact Natalie Pollock at Cape Town’s Sporting Chance on 021 683 7299, log onto www.sportingchance.co.za, or join facebook.com/sportingchance for regular updates.

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