May 31 2010

Soccer dreams come true

31/05/2010 - Eight children from Rustenburg - four from the SOS Children's Village and four from the family strengthening programme (FSP) - will attend a World Cup soccer match due to their academic and sporting accomplishments; and the SOS team trumps the FSP team on the newly built village soccer pitch. It was a day of dreams …

Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
They will watch the game Ghana vs. Australia live at the stadium in Rustenburg - Photo: Brenda Dimbleby

Four children from SOS Children's Village Rustenburg and four children from the SOS Family Strengthening Programme were chosen to attend the FIFA World Cup game between Ghana and Australia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on 19 June 2010. It was thanks to a web technology company from Canada that the children can say, "I was there". The company provided the hospitality package to the children to celebrate their accomplishments. "We truly hope that this will be a soccer dream of a lifetime for the children attending the game. Hopefully, this will assist the village to showcase to the other children that education can create opportunities and make a lasting difference," said Bill Syrros, CEO of Lixar IT.

The children were chosen for exceptional achievement at school, for their personal determination and perseverance last but not least for fair play on the pitch. "James (13) has achieved outstanding results in Grade 7 this year. We are so proud of all the hard work he has done," said Granda Fell, social worker of the village. "The other three SOS children, John (14), Johannes (13) and Aubrey (11) play soccer at school level and consistently perform well academically. They love soccer and are so excited to be going to see a World Cup game."

Photo: Brenda Dimbleby
Children and SOS mothers - enthusiasm for football knows no bounds - Photo: Brenda Dimbleby

To embody the spirit of personal determination and perseverance four teenagers from the FSP will join the group. These teenagers stay in school and do their best to help their families. "This opportunity means such a lot to us," said Vuzimuzi. "We are hoping Ghana will win because they are an African team." An SOS mother and FSP field worker will accompany the children.

After the handover of the tickets a soccer match between the SOS team and FSP team was played to celebrate the completion of the long-awaited soccer pitch behind the SOS Children's Village in Rustenburg. "HSBC (an English banking institution) provided the final monetary needs for the field to be finished. The field was levelled, grass planted and yesterday the goalposts arrived. Today the children are kicking some fantastic goals into the nets," said Ted Taylor from SOS Children's Villages South Africa.

The nine-a-side soccer teams took to the field amid cheering from the crowd. From the start the game was on as the SOS team scored a goal within the first few minutes. The FSP team tried to counter but were unsuccessful. The match was all SOS players as they scored goal after goal and kept the ball in their possession. The final outcome of 6-0 was greeted with vuvuzelas, chants, dancing and singing from the supporters.

"It's almost as exciting as watching a Bafana Bafana* game," joked a supporter.

*National soccer team from South Africa