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Mastercard, Pick n Pay support grassroots rugby development through ShadowBall Touch Rugby League

Makgatle Primary School has been named the champion in the 2019 ShadowBall Touch Rugby League – a local initiative to develop grassroots rugby at under-resourced schools in Hammanskraal.
In partnership with Mastercard, Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019TM, and Pick n Pay, 1200 girls and boys from 12 local primary schools were selected to join an eight-week touch rugby programme.
The ShadowBall Pass Booster programme – in association with the Hamaanskraal Sports Company, Touch Rugby South Africa and Gauteng Touch Rugby Association – not only teaches physical skills such as passing and catching and hand-eye co-ordination, but also helps learners master other life skills such as teamwork, respect, and discipline through the experience they gain on the field.
During the programme, each school received training kits and four weekly training sessions by two local coaches trained by ShadowBall. A team from each school was then selected to compete at the ShadowBall Touch Rugby tournament held at the Hammanskraal Sports Complex. Playing for school honour and glory, the children put their newly learnt skills to the test, with Makgatle Primary School emerging as the winner against St Athanacias.
Ashraf Dawood, Deputy Chief Education Specialist: Policy and Planning at the Gauteng Department of Education in Tshwane-North District, says: “All of our schools in Hammanskraal are non-feepaying schools – they lack facilities and equipment. The learners love and excel in sports, but with no proper fields or equipment, their talent is not explored. Mastercard, ShadowBall and Pick n Pay have given us hope by exposing our learners to an exciting form of rugby.”

“Touch rugby is a truly inclusive sport as it can be played by everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are a girl or boy, if you are tall or short or what background you come from,” says Gary Crookes, ShadowBall Founder and Managing Director. “This programme has helped the youth in Hammanskraal learn physical skills, gain confidence and make new friends. We believe communities that play sport together are healthier and happier.”

The ShadowBall Touch Rugby League is one of several community initiatives supported by Mastercard and Pick n Pay, following the rollout out of Mastercard’s Start Something Priceless Rugby World Cup 2019TM campaign earlier this year. During the campaign, Mastercard committed to donate funds towards schools’ sports development for each purchase that shoppers made using their Mastercard contactless card at Pick n Pay.

“Rugby is a passion that unites people and what better way to Start Something Priceless than by giving South Africans the opportunity to come together for children who have so much potential but are held back by a lack of resources,” says Beatrice Cornacchia, Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Communications: Middle East and Africa at Mastercard. “Together with our partners, we are honoured to give these youths the platform to pursue their passion for sport and help them reach their full potential.”

The 12 schools form part of Pick n Pay’s School Club programme – an education initiative that not only provides free educational material to over 3 300 schools in the country, but a platform that encourages a healthy and active lifestyle. “We believe in educating our future learners and initiatives like this help young learners become heroes both in and outside the classroom,” says Andre Nel, Pick n Pay’s General Manager for Sustainability.

The Hammanskraal Sporting Company has been trained to deliver the ShadowBall Pass Booster Programme as part of a long-term sport community development project.

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