The Spur Soccer Masidlale Programme, a tool for instilling essential life skills into young lives, has already reached more than 30 000 children within historically disadvantaged areas since its inception in 2005.
What started out as 12 one-day soccer clinics involving 10-12 year olds, has grown into a fully-fledged annual soccer league in the main metropolitan areas of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
It culminates in inter-regional finals where teams battle it out for top honours and a charity prize of R10 000.
One of Spur’s corporate social investment aims is to use sport to uplift communities. The central venues are selected in historically disadvantaged areas where school sport participation is low. The Masidlale Programme fills this gap.
Each one of the cities has 200 players (100 girls and 100 boys) taking part who come from 10 local schools. The teams are given Spur-branded soccer kits which they can keep.
According to Khakhi Diala, marketing manager of the Spur Group, sport teaches us more than just physical skills; sport is a metaphor for life. That is why Spur has included a life skills programme to run alongside the soccer league.
Fifty mentors per league meet with their groups every two weeks to explore essential skills needed to excel in life. The mentors teach self-esteem, positive behaviour changes and wise decision making. They equip the children beyond the sports field into home and school life. 20 girls and 20 boys are then chosen for further mentoring.
To ensure the lessons go further into the schools, Spur has a Masidlale Coaching Programme for the school coaches. These are run by accredited coaching facilitators who train 30 coaches from four provinces.
Interactive Sport is involved with the mentoring programme which extends to the coaches and one teacher per school.
Masidlale means “let’s play” in Xhosa. So the programme’s aim is to change lives through play.
The 2016 programme will be launched on Wednesday, 2 March in Durban, Tuesday, 8 March in Port Elizabeth, Wednesday, 9 March in Cape Town and Wednesday, 16 March in Johannesburg. Be sure to look out for the finals which take place on Wednesday, 4 May in Durban, Tuesday, 17 May in Port Elizabeth, Wednesday, 18 May in Cape Town and Thursday, 26 May in Johannesburg.