Street kids get their kicks from soccer

Street kids get their kicks from soccer
Melanie Peters
September 10 2006 at 12:46PM

Sport plays an important role in the rehabilitation of street children and in the transformation of youth from disadvantaged communities.

Cape Town’s deputy mayor, Andrew Arnold, told the Street Children’s Soccer Tournament in Green Point on Saturday that sport could keep children away from drugs, gangs and other social evils.

About 32 teams of street children took part in the event which was jointly organised by the city, the Cape Town Partnership and the fledgling Western Cape Street Children’s Soccer League.

In the spirit of the tournament, the deputy mayor donned his soccer boots and led a team of officials and councillors in the opening match against the South African team that will represent the country in the Homeless World Cup Soccer Tournament later this month.

Arnold scored the only goal for his team against the winning team that put the ball into the next six times.

Arnold told the young soccer players: "Sport is an excellent vehicle for youth development and for developing the future generations of leaders. It also offers a window of opportunity into the lives of the youth, for coaches and responsible role models, to impart sound values and morals into their lives at a time when they are most vulnerable and most impressionable."

He said sport cut across racial, cultural and social lines and was an incredible nation-building tool.

"Today is about more than soccer or fun. We are here to touch the lives of all the participants of this tournament to tell them they are not alone … we are here and we see their plight.

"I have worked with many street kids, and there is not one of them who would not rather be living in a loving family environment where they could live happily and fulfil their dream."

This article was originally published on page 4 of Sunday Argus on September 10, 2006

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