After 20 pandemic months, South African youth have missed out on so many opportunities to get together for the games and sports that promote active living, as well as build camaraderie and community spirit. So, SASKO was delighted to stage two Shap Shooters, 4-a-side soccer tournaments for Johannesburg and Durban schools this November.
Over the past weekends, 112 Johannesburg high school players from 16 school teams gathered at Maponya Mall in Soweto and 98 players from 14 Durban school teams came together at Umlazi Mega City for action-packed Saturdays supported by their families, communities and local businesses.
Jackie Pillay, SASKO’s Marketing Manager said, “Play and sport is such an important part of how children and youth learn and grow. Of course, soccer is more than just a sport in South Africa; it’s a way of bringing communities together. SASKO Shap Shooters congratulates the winners and all the players who put their skills to the test. We also thank the coaches, parents, schools and local spaza shops who have gotten involved and supported the campaign and the youth in their communities.”
The winning schools, Sebetsa-O-Thole-Moputsu High School from Thulani in Soweto and Vukuzakhe High School from Umlazi in Durban were each awarded a R5000 cash prize, a tournament trophy, brand new soccer kit and a custom team logo. The first, second and third place team players in both tournaments received medals and were celebrated as soccer stars in their community.
Vukuzakhe High School Coach, Manqoba Shona said, “I am happy for our boys who haven’t competed in any sports since lockdown. We were happy just to get the opportunity to play in a SASKO Shap Shooter tournament. The other teams posed a challenge, and we didn’t know we would go all the way! This win has meant a lot to our school.” One of his top players, Ntuthuko Mdlalose added, “I was very, very happy to play after a long time. We got to meet and socialise with players from other schools. Winning the first game, 10-1 showed that we could go far in the tournament. Praise to our goalkeeper for a job well done, and thanks to SASKO for this opportunity.”
Andiswa Nkabinde, coach for the winning Johannesburg team from Sebetsa-O-Thole-Moputsu High School said, “COVID has impacted our school a lot and there has been minimum activity, especially in sports, as all sports have been on hold. This tournament has helped us reconnect, and we got a feel for how life can go forward despite COVID. Thank you SASKO for the opportunity to participate. On behalf of my players, I want to say that it was a blissful experience. I felt good to go out on a Saturday and mix with other teams and we look forward to participating in more SASKO initiatives.”
Families, schools and local businesses were part of the exciting, high-energy events, and continue to participate in an ongoing SASKO Shap Shooters program. Schools, spaza shops and the local community have been included in the campaign with various prizes and give-aways on offer.
Best of all, South African high school learners were able to put their soccer talents to the test and enjoy a fun, active day playing their best game. Pillay concludes, “At SASKO, we’re keenly aware of how life has changed due to COVID-19, and reigniting the tournaments is an important way to enhance community care during a tough time, as well as fuel the nation and ensure that our kids can safely learn, play and develop.”