The 2013 Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge draw took place at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto today. This annual soccer tournament takes place each year in December and is held in honour of the late struggle icon, Walter Sisulu.
The Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge, which was first played in 2002, is now in its 11th year and continues to grow. This year’s Challenge will kick off on 1 December, World AIDS Day, and will run to 29 December 2013.
A total of 56 teams, which is eight more than last year and a sign of how the tournament continues to grow, will be participating in the main category at this year’s Challenge. There will be 32 teams in the Under-17 category and 16 sides in the women’s category.
Dennis Mumble SAFA CEO was present at the launch as the guest speaker at the draw.
“At SAFA house we call Phil Mogodi chairman of SAFA Soweto Mr Development because of his commitment to soccer development over the years. I would like to thank Discovery for their commitment to the Discovery Walter Sisulu Challenge over the last 10 years and hope that they will remain involved for the next 10 years” Mumble said.
Discovery have once again partnered with the Soweto Football Association again this year to ensure the event benefits as many footballers as possible in the community.
“We are thrilled to be part of this Challenge and to be partnering with the Soweto Football Association,” said Sandile Mkari, Discovery Sponsorships Manager. “This longstanding partnership is a demonstration of our commitment to the Soweto through our various projects in the community. We are proud to announce that the community should look forward to our continued support in the years to come.
“During the tournament we will be donating R50 000 worth of soccer gear to the Dreamfields Project as part of our commitment to giving back to community and being a force for social good,” Mkari added. “These DreamBags will enable children to fulfil their dreams of playing soccer, and help them to keep fit and healthy.”
Dreamfields Projects is an organisation committed to helping children’s dreams of playing soccer come true through providing them with the resources they need to play the game in rural and township schools across the country. Dreamfields will distribute the Discovery donated DreamBags to schools and organisations throughout Soweto.
“The tournament provides a great platform for Discovery to promote the important message of physical activity, good health and wellbeing and eating healthily,” says Candice Smith, Discovery Vitality Wellness Manager. “On the day the tournament starts we will commemorate World AIDS Day and throughout the tournament, provide wellness screenings
for the players, host a festival for the community and hold soccer youth clinics for young players.
Discovery staff and the Walter Sisulu family will participate in various activities throughout the tournament and we will provide wellness intervention programmes for the winners of the tournament to provide them to the information and tools they will need to live healthier, more active lives, and become champions both on and off the soccer field,” said Smith.
The overall prize money for the winners of this year’s tournament is as follows:
· Winners Open category – R70 000
· Winners Under 17 – R15 000
· Winners Ladies category – R10 000
In addition, for this year’s tournament, Discovery will be once again reward exceptional individual performance through player awards. These player awards, which are valued at R1 500 each, will go to the following winners:
· Player of the tournament
· Top goal scorer
· Goalkeeper of the tournament
· Man of the Match (Final match on 29 December 2013)
“The Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge is an excellent platform for young players to showcase their soccer talent and a great opportunity for the Soweto community to enjoy brilliant soccer right on their doorstep,” says Phil Mogodi, Chairman of the Soweto Football Association and tournament director. “We have seen many well-known local soccer stars discovered ever since its inception 11 years ago and some selected to play in the South African professional football league.”
Some of these stars include Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), Sfiso Myeni (Orlando Pirates) and Edward Manqele (Sundowns FC).
“We look forward to a successful tournament this year,” said Mkari. “We wish all participating teams the best. May the best team win.”