Municipality pitches in to improve soccer

Sixty-four communities in Ekurhuleni Municipality will benefit directly from the 2010 World Cup with the upgrading of open soccer fields to the tune of R64million.

Sixty-four communities in Ekurhuleni Municipality will benefit directly from the 2010 World Cup with the upgrading of open soccer fields to the tune of R64million.

"We are going to use R1 million in each of the 64 previously disadvantaged communities. The facilities will be properly grassed with adequate irrigation systems, fencing and ablutions," said Joe Mojapelo, Ekurhuleni Municipality's general manager of the 2010 World Cup and special projects.

A major challenge facing the municipality is the fact that some of the grounds have been occupied by residents who erected shacks on them.

Mojapelo said the upgrading of fields will be part of the greening projects in the townships that the munici- pality is embarking on.

"The upgrading of the soccer fields will form an integral part of the Mayor's Soccer Challenge where high- quality balls are distributed to the communities. Now they will also have proper facilities to hone their skills.

"That will also help us raise the profile of football in the municipality."

The Mayor's Soccer Challenge, initiated by executive mayor Duma Nkosi, is a yearly development soccer tournament where funds are raised to buy balls. It has the support of corporate South Africa.

"There is also the Ekurhuleni Soccer Challenge, which is jointly run by the municipality and Safa Ekurhuleni.

"The 2008 tournament will be known as the Ekurhuleni Mayoral International Cup and will be contested between the Under-14 clubs from Ekurhuleni and their peers from Lewisham [London] on a home and away basis," said Mojapelo.

X