Four Meadowlands, Soweto, schools are each R10 000 richer after winning their respective categories in the inaugural CTM Schools Challenge at Meadowlands Sports Grounds on Monday August 10.
Organised by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) in conjunction with the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the Department of Health and Social Development, as well as the South African Police Service (SAPS), the annual tournament featured 16 primary and high school soccer and netball teams from wards 41, 42, 43 and 45 in the City’s Region G.
The other participating schools received new kits, soccer boots and sneakers as incentives for their efforts.
The tournament was sponsored by tiles company CTM and supported by the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA). JMPD’s Tshediso Monareng said the tournament, which coincided with National Women’s Day celebrations, was part of his department’s sustained drive to take the youth off the streets and engage them in meaningful activity.
He said the four wards that took part in the games were, like many others in the city, facing serious social ills such as teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and an astronomical school dropout rate.
“Sport is a catalyst for a clean and healthy lifestyle and the creation of good role models. It is through tournaments such as this that we will be able to help create healthy and sustainable communities. We believe we are making a difference,” he said.
He hoped the tournament would be bigger and better next year. Hundreds of learners converged into the venue from as early as 8am to be part of the tournament. Parents of many of the participating learners were also present. A festive and jovial mood prevailed and live commentary of the soccer games boomed from big and powerful speakers.
The winner in the primary school netball category was Indoni, whereas the primary school soccer category was won by WK Maponyane. Meadowlands High School emerged as the winner of the high school soccer category after overcoming Thuto Lere 2-0 in an exciting final. Kwa-Mahlobo won the high school netball category.
All the participating learners each received a medal.
The captain of Meadowlands High School, Melusi Ndlela, earned himself the “Man of the Match” award for scoring a brace. Ward 45 councillor Emmanuel Tseleli said it was encouraging to see the private sector and state institutions joining hands in programmes like this.
“The tournament has exceeded our wildest expectations and I must say I’m overwhelmed,” said Clr Tseleli.
He said it was pleasing to see the youth doing “something positive” on a holiday.“We all ask ourselves what these learners could have been up to had we not organised this tournament,” he said.
Councillors Takalani Nefotowi, Sipho Mbuya and Nonie Ngondzani concurred. Thapelo Moletsane, a Grade 12 learner at Meadowlands High School, said the tournament had kept the learners “positively occupied”.
“We know what happens on holidays. Most of teenagers engage in unacceptable behaviour, like drinking alcohol and doing drugs,” he said.