Ninety six teams turned out in Diepsloot for a two-day tournament, on the weekend of 21 July, to celebrate one hundred years since Nelson Mandela’s birth.
The soccer tournament which was held at Muzomuhle Primary School, in Diepsloot extension two, saw various teams from different age groups battling it out for different trophies and medals. Out of ninety eight teams, there were four teams of girls’ soccer.
The teams were classified into three age groups of under 12 (with 24 teams), under 14 (with 24 teams), under 16 (with 24 teams) and 16 teams competed at the senior level.
Diepsloot Arsenal Development won in the under 12 competition while Diepsloot Malmo FC were the runners up. In the under 14 competition, Mamelodi Sundowns Satellite were the winners. In under16, Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Diepsloot Arsenal Development in the finals to be the winners. At the senior level, Diepsloot Youth Programme won the competition by putting Cosmo united as the runners up. In girls’ soccer, Akani FC won the competition after defeating Diepsloot Arsenal Development.
The winners were awarded trophies, gold medals and soccer balls, and the runners up were awarded silver medals. On top of that, the winners and runners up in girls’ competition were awarded huddles.
The chairperson of Region A Sports Council, Ngoako Sizwe Ramolesana, who also organized the tournament said it was a great moment to celebrate Mandela day through sports.
“Mandela once said ‘sports can unite people at a global level’,” he said. “The purpose of the tournament was all about using the passion of soccer to elevate the youth. We also aim to educate the adults about the benefits of using soccer as a tool in addressing different issues.”
Ngoako added that if people follow Mandela ‘sports ideas, the communities will be able to tackle poverty.
“It is always painful to note that majority of our young players are from informal settlements,” he added. “ Many youths in SA townships have experienced severe poverty, bad parenting, poor education, gang, substances addictions and weighed down with despair and hopeless. Through this tournament we brought hope to our youth. It was a great achievement to consider.”
Ngoako said one of the greatest achievements of the tournament was to include a team of the disabled. He said it was a way of educating the youth about not to discriminate people according to their physical appearances Achievements.
Noako expressed gratitude to the following for making the tournament a success: Kasma Printing, Wot-If Trust, Phagama Civils and Maintanance, Safe Hub, Sports and Rec-Club Development, RCLFA, COJ (Sam Mathapo and Mandl Mahlangu), Mr John Moeti, Johnny Madala Mathole, The referees, Security, and the Diepsloot Community.
Cosmo United coach, Foster Hlungwani, whose team lost in the final said such tournaments bring confidence among the players.
“It is always really good to play with competitive teams in the tournament it grows us as a team,” he said. “The tournament itself was very organized, impressive and exciting to watch. If the boys keep on working hard and they're disciplined keep on learning. They’ll go very far I'm happy for the way they performed.