The year 2017 marks the 15th year of the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge. The iconic community talent identification tournament has become a breeding ground for discovering the country’s next big stars. Once again the Soweto based tournament will lighten up the Gauteng province and entertain spectators throughout the festive season, from the 1st to the 29th of December.
The tournament will play out at the Nike Football Training Centre in Klipspruit, Soweto, as teams from across the country clash in the nations heartbeat and battle for the honours of being crowned the Kasi football champions. Fans from all over Gauteng are anticipating yet another exciting year of the finest and most skillful talent in their community as football fever hits the playing grounds in Soweto.
This much loved football tournament was established in honour of iconic leader Walter Sisulu who played a key role in South Africa’s fight for liberation and has inspired millions all over the world. Just as he has changed lives for the better, the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge aims to inspire greatness by providing exposure and a platform to identify as well as groom the country’s most promising football talent.
This festive season showpiece will see 104 teams challenge for the championship. The teams are split into three categories; 56 teams will compete in the main category, 32 teams in the under 17 category and 16 teams in the women’s category.
Discovery’s Head of Vitality Wellness, Dr Craig Nossel, highlighted the importance of the tournament in the growth and development of youngsters. “The Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge plays an important role in developing soccer in our country, and also bringing communities together. We use the opportunity to encourage and create awareness within the community about living healthier and more active lives. Sport goes hand in hand with physical activity, healthy living and overall wellbeing of a person. Discovery is proud to be sponsoring an event that has become an institution in Soweto and something the community looks forward to every year,” said Dr Nossel.
Also in high-spirits over this year’s tournament is Bafana Bafana and Bidvest Wits captain, Thulani Hlatshwayo who along with the likes of Supersport United winger Sifiso Myeni and recent graduate, Lyle Foster of Orlando Pirates are among the country’s top footballers, whose career started at this tournament.
Having played in the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge, Hlatshwayo echoed Nossel’s words by expressing gratitude over the tournaments ability to uplift footballers in communities, “I played in the Walter Sisulu Challenge and it contributed immensely to my career. I know that most of the players who played here and the community look forward to this tournament. The tournament creates a lot of hype and excitement for football lovers. I look forward to witnessing the skills on display this year,” said the Bafana Bafana captain.
Chairman of the Soweto Football Association Phil Mogodi conveyed his excitement on the 15-year milestone and the steadfast partnership between SAFA and Discovery that has improved the lives of many talented footballers.
“It is amazing that the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge has only existed for 15 years. So much talent has been identified in such a short period of time. This tournament is more than just entertainment for the community; it also gives hope to the people of Soweto as it is backed by a brand that believes in this tournament and its importance. I am looking forward to the development of more players in this year’s tournament and I would like to encourage spectators to come out in their numbers and enjoy community diski.” concluded Mogodi.
This year’s prize money for the winners of this year’s tournament is as follows:
- Tournament Champions (Men’s Open Category) – R100 000.00
- Tournament Champions (Men’s Under 17 Category) – R 20 000.00
- Tournament Champions (Women’s Open Category) – R20 000.00