This past weekend saw the start of a new Provincial initiative “The Premier’s Social Cohesion Games”.
Close to 800 players got together on the 25th and 26th of February across 9 regions of Gauteng, to play football as a show of solidarity, social cohesion against xenophobia. Players over 35, from divers races, denominations and nationalities played 7-a-side social football from round robin stages on Saturday to knockout rounds and quarterfinals in the Boksburg City Stadium on Sunday.
The semi-finals and finals will be played on Sunday the 5th of March at the Nike Centre in Soweto.
“There was never a more appropriate time to show the country how we can unite under the banner of football”, said Premier David Makhura “Football is a common denominator; in Gauteng, on the continent and in turn the world-over. It transcends all differences and serves to remind us that we have a lot more in common than that which divides us.”
The Premier, together with the Hellenic Italian & Portuguese (HIP) Alliance and the Mmako Group devised and developed these games in an effort to enhance social cohesion against xenophobia in the Province as well as recognise & acknowledge former players.
Gauteng MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts & Culture, Ms Faith Mazibuko is extremely excited with the games, “ Social Cohesion is one of the key drivers of the change needed in our country and in turn our Province. An active Citizenry in building social cohesion and nation building can contribute enormously towards the transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisations of our economy and society. Through football we can play our part in achieving this”
Included in all the teams are former players from both South Africa as well as the rest of the continent. Players such as Roger Feutmba, former Sundowns and Cameroon International, Innocent Chikoya, Ediilvert Dinah, Doctor Khumalo, Frank Makua, Tebogo Moloi, MaimanePhiri and JabuMahlangu,to mention a few, will show off their skills on the day.
“We stand United in Diversity” said tournament convenor and Chairperson of the Italian section of the HIP Alliance, Maurizio Mariano, “together with the African Diaspora Forum, the Hellenic, Portuguese, Chinese, Jewish, Muslim & Hindu Association communities we have put together the most divers group of people in one event. Through these games we will, in a small but significant way, assist in unifying our Province”
All teams will receive playing attire and each centre will receive, bibs, balls, flags & whistles. Transportwas provided for both teams and fans to be transported to Boksburgthis past weekend and will again be provided for the semis and finals at the Nike Centre.
The Finals on Sunday the 5th of March at the Nike Centre will also see an exhibition game made up by a Premier’s select team playing against a celebrity team captained by SABC’s David Kekana.
A special mention and word of thanks to the Associations & corporates who made this event possible
• The Sports Trust
• VBS Mutual bank
• SA Fence & Gate
• European House Ambrosetti
• Joburg Post
• Complete Water
• Nu Era Food Brands