The once-off event was a collaboration between Play Soccer South Africa (PSSA), Heartlines forgood (www.forgood.co.za) and the International Marketing Council of South Africa. Says Nevelia Heilbron of forgood, “Our aim with this event was to highlight and promote the development of young girls in soccer. Contrary to suggestions that only men watch soccer, the 2006 World Cup showed that 41% of the viewers were women. In light of this, we realised a development opportunity.”
PSSA is an implementing partner of FIFA’s Football for Hope movement. Their programme offers recreational soccer with non-formal educational activities that help children learn health, physical and social development life skills.
Almost 250 community children – aged 5-14 years – attended the soccer workshop at Tiiseto Bekezela Primary School in Orange Farm. What made yesterday’s event really special was that the girls attending were treated to coaching sessions by national players Janine van Wyk, Chantelle Esau, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Hlengiwe Ngwane, supported by team manager Fran Hilton-Smith.
Says Cameron Cox, Program Manager for PSSA, “The event was a great success and the result of a combined team effort and loving what we do. It was great to see our national players giving back to the community and encouraging young girls as to how football can change their lives.”
Nevelia Heilbron commented on the Banyana players, “What absolute professionals the players were: they encouraged the girls and taught them valuable skills, and even ended the session by teaching the children their own Banyana song. We were impressed by how easily they related to the children and showed what it means to be a national ambassador. Thank you for making this event so meaningful.”