Community needs help to revamp the sports field

A few of the local soccer players pose for a photo during their afternoon practice.

HECTORSPRUIT – It is 15:00 on a Thursday and despite the heat, a group of boys are playing soccer.

There is no shade close by, the field slopes downward and is very uneven, but it is the only safe place they have to play.

Many young soccer players from the community gather at this soccer field, next to the N4 opposite the Hectorspruit town entrance, every day after school and during school holidays to practise.

A group of community members kick around a soccer ball.

The soccer field is the only sports field in this community and was the venue of several tournaments between 2014 and 2016. It is currently in a bad condition and needs to be fixed before more events can be held.

Coach, Simon Mabaso says he started sports initiatives to motivate children to take up safe and healthy hobbies and reduce crime and poverty.

READ: Komatipoort police reach out to needy schoolchildren

Substance abuse and teenage pregnancy are a big problem in the Hectorspruit/Mjejane community and he realised that keeping kids busy with sports helped cultivate healthy minds and bodies.

Initiatives such as these are especially necessary during school and public holidays, when there is not much else for schoolchildren to do.

He helped to host tournaments in previous years and said it motivated the youth to explore their sporting talents and brought a positive change in the community.

Girls cheer after a win during a previous community sports tournament.

“They were also so grateful for any prizes they received. Any little thing they can get makes them happy,” Mabaso said

Mabaso and Bigboy Mkhwanazi, another passionate sports enthusiast, coaches aspiring soccer players every afternoon after three and some of the older players, who occasionally compete in a local farm league, also gather for practice.

“For the kids, it gets to be a routine. They go to school, come practise, go home and sleep. There’s no time for getting into trouble,” Mabaso said.

They currently have two soccer teams – Hectorspruit United and Young Tigers United. They use to have a few netball teams as well, but Mabaso says many of the girls have fallen pregnant and they do not have enough interest any more.

Mabaso urged any community members or businesses that can help fix their field, donate sports equipment or prizes for future tournaments to contact him on 076-508-0402 or [email protected]

  AUTHOR
Retha Nel

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