Carnival City & City of Ekurhuleni partner for annual mayoral soccer ball challenge

Thousands of children around Ekurhuleni will be smiling after receiving early Christmas presents as the City of Ekurhuleni embarks on the Mayoral Soccer Ball Challenge on 11 December in Daveyton, in partnership with Carnival City, amongst others.

Over 5000 balls will be distributed as part of the initiative, which seeks to develop sport in previously disadvantaged communities and encourage youths to participate in activities which will build them by taking them off the streets and away from bad influences.

“As the City of Ekurhuleni, we would like to encourage youngsters to divert their energies into sport and other similar recreational activities so that they can lead positive lifestyles as they are the future of the country,” says Zweli Dlamini, spokesperson of the metro.

An entourage of sponsors, Ekurhuleni soccer legends and officials will be lead by Executive Mayor Ntombi Mekgwe on a tour around Daveyton where they will make stops at informal soccer fields and hand out balls. In addition to this 200 local players – 100 girls and 100 boys – will be given the chance to improve on their fancy foot skills at coaching clinics which will be held at Marivate Park.

“The focus for this initiative, which was launched in 2004, has also shifted this year to encompass elements related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup which is on the horizon,” continued Dlamini. The metro will extend their Fly the Flag campaign which aims to increase patriotism among South Africans through educating communities about their national symbols.

Residents will be taught the correct way to carry the national flag, as well as given lessons on singing the national anthem. Adding to the entertainment, the Diski Dancers will be there to teach the mayor and sponsors how to shake a leg. The day will end off with a match between a local U17 team and the Ekurhuleni Sports Academy team.

Carnival City General Manager Derek Panaino says the Carnival City team are proud to partner with the City of Ekurhuleni on this project. “The Mayoral Soccer Ball Challenge has become an institution in Ekurhuleni and we are excited to be able to join in both spreading cheer and educating communities ahead of the World Cup next year,” he says. “Carnival City is ‘Proudly Ekurhuleni’ and we’re delighted to be supporting the Council team on this fantastic project.”

A partnership that works

In its fourth year running, the Ekurhuleni Soccerball Challenge has relies on partnerships with the private sector for sustainability. This year, 15 organizations including ABSA, Actom, ARWYP Medical Centre, Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, Business Connexion, Carnival City, Emperors Palace, ERWAT, FNB, Impala Platinum, Lafarge, NetGroup, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rand Water and TCM have contributed towards making the campaign possible.