La Liga has introduced more fun and sporting focus to the midyear school holidays for hundreds of children in Soweto.
On the 26th June, the Spanish professional football league handed over 1 000 free footballs to schools – particularly primary schools – within the townships of Meadowlands and Zola. La Liga’s donation is made in partnership with the annual KwaMahlobo Festive Games, which most recently took place over the December 2018 holiday season.
La Liga’s most-recent football giveaway reflects the organisation’s ongoing commitment to giving back to local communities. These areas are home to some of South Africa’s most passionate football fans, as well as promising players shaping up to become the game’s stars of tomorrow.
Current CAF Women Footballer of the Year Thembi Kgatlane also joined in on the day’s activities, sharing her experiences and life-story with the primary school pupils. The Banyana Banyana attacker was indeed an inspiration to the kids in attendance ensuring they leave their school grounds with great motivation, worthwhile life-lessons and hope for a brighter future.
“It was heart-warming to see the kids of Sivelile Primary come out in numbers in a chilly morning to welcome LaLiga and its partners to their school. The excitement on their faces was what really caught my emotions, as my career also started with a single ball shared amongst friends. These kids are privileged to get soccer balls, which they will use all year round, keeping them away from streets not idle. It is a great initiative by LaLiga and its partners to bring development and privileges to the kids of Soweto.”
A partner of the South Africa Football Association (SAFA), LaLiga is serious about grassroots football development in South Africa and the greater African continent. The international organisation earmarks around 2% of its impressive annual turnover for social responsibility and development initiatives.
These include workshops for coaches and involvement in the Future Champions project – where promising U17 players and up-and-coming coaches from Gauteng receive the life-changing opportunity to travel overseas and experience first-hand the best in European football and training support.
In Soweto specifically, La Liga has supported the KwaMahlobo Festive Games, a local football tournament held over two weeks during the year-end holidays. This event has the purpose of unearthing and nurturing local talent, and bringing crowd-pleasing competition right to the doorstep of soccer-loving Soweto residents.
While branded ball giveaways are a key part of La Liga’s involvement in the KwaMahlobo Festive Games, the football heavyweight has a further dedicated #Passtheball charity initiative (again in partnership with SAFA), where thousands of soccer balls are donated to underprivileged children.
Ruan-Cavallari Van Der Walt, La Liga’s CSI #Passtheball Project Coordinator, explains, “It’s easy to underestimate the effect a simple gift like a football can have on a child. Yet, it can be life-altering. Donated balls, clothing and equipment galvanise interest in football among the youth.”
He adds, “Even if these kids don’t pursue the game as a profession, playing football encourages the personal development of mind and body. This form of upliftment opens doors to more opportunities and a better future for young South Africans as well as their communities.”