Residents of the border village of Ramatlabama, in the North West are set to enjoy their weekend at Batloung Sports Ground, thanks to a two-day youth month
and social cohesion football tournament to be hosted by Public Service and
Administration Minister, Faith Muthambi. The four teams that will lock horns on
Saturday are Ikopeleng FC, Miga FC, Makgokgoane FC and 600 FC. Winners will
progress to the finals, where the champions will take home with trophy and gold medals.
However, Minister Muthambi will hand over soccer kits to both the champions and losing
teams. The Manyedi Youth Tournament is not only aimed at keeping young people away
from alcohol and drug abuse, but Minister Muthambi will use the tournament to call
on all communities to unite against the on-going violence against women and girl
children. Minister Muthambi said: “the rights of women should never be violated.
Through this tournament, we want to teach young boys to learn to love and respect our
women and girl children. “Personal safety is a human right. When communities do
not feel safe and live in fear, our country’s economic development and people’s wellbeing
are affected, hindering their ability to achieve their potential. “Again, the National
Development Plan (NDP) is clear that by 2030, people living in South Africa should
feel safe at home, school and workplace and enjoying a community life free without fear.
Our women should walk freely on the streets and girl children play safely outside,” she said.
Since this is Youth Month, the Minister will also use the tournament to reaffirm
government commitment in terms of creating opportunities for young people with the
view of tackling the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Following the advent of democracy in 1994, the new democratic government declared 16 June as National Youth Day and June as Youth Month. This year National Youth Day and Youth Month is celebrated under the theme: The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing the Youth Economic Empowerment. The tournament will also serve as a platform to raise opportunities for dialogue
with the youth and their role towards social cohesion and nation-building. Since 1994, sport has been a unifying force in South Africa. A dedicated focus was placed on transforming this sector to ensure equitable access to sporting opportunities. Minister Muthambi said: “it is this type of tournament that unearthed players like Kaizer Chiefs defender, Eric “Tower”
Mathoho who was spotted by coach, Owen Da Gama when playing for an amateur
team, Tshiombo FC in Limpopo’s Vhembe District. “Remarkable players that you watch
on TV playing for the big teams in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have started
their career from a grassroots level like the SAB league. “Today as I speak, the SAB league
unearthed some of the bigger names including Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Innocent Mdledle,
Lucas Thwala, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Eleazar Rodgers and Ayanda Dlamini to mention but a few. “Those who follow football will agree with me that in 2012: COPA Coca-Cola changed to a U/15 football tournament.