Our Sports programmes, combined with life skill training to promote social skills, aim to develop and strengthen self-esteem, teamwork and a sense of responsibility for children and young people.
"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite peo-ple in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand, Sport can create hope where once there was also despair” (Nelson Mandela).
iThemba Labantu runs an extensive sports program on a daily basis. The dominant sports codes that are offered are soccer and netball but we are also introducing cricket, rugby and basketball. The children are trained by a dedicated and compassionate team consisting of a sports coordinator and eight coaches. As most of the children come from struggling families and single- parent house-holds the coaches act as positive role-models and father figures. Training sessions run from Monday to Friday between 4-7.30 p.m. 200 children and youth between the ages of 5 to 25 years train each day. The soccer children are divided in the divisions of U8, U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 and first team. The centre also has two girls’ teams. The netball department consist of U11, U13 and U15. Life-skills form an integrated part of the daily programmes.
Before they go home the children receive a hot nutritious meal. The centre runs two junior sports leagues each Saturday. The junior soccer league caters for the U10, U12 and U14 divisions and caters for community clubs from Philippi and surrounding areas. Over 500 children take part in that league. The centre also runs a netball league for U11, U13 and U15, in which community clubs participate and which has over 300 participants. The senior soccer teams play in the local Greater Philippi League. In addition to the normal program the centre also organizes several tournaments per year. It also takes the children to high- profile tournaments outside the areas where the players and coaches can compete and measure their progress. While the main purpose of the sport programs is recreation we also try to identify and foster special talent. We take selected children to the trials of the youth academies of professional clubs. We arrange games against youth clubs like Ajax Cape Town and they also use our grounds to scout for talent in the community. In addition to the normal sports activities we take the children to regular outings such as hiking on Table Mountain, Green Point Park or to the beach. The majority of the children hardly get outside the township. Just to be able to get out of the environment of the township struggle has already a healing power and opens their mind to new opportunities. We also take them to camps whenever funds are available.
We believe in growing together and so we organize regular training for our staff on various topics varying from specific sports training to social issues like child abuse and parenting challenges against a backdrop of socio-economic hardship. The training gives the sport coaches the opportunity to develop themselves and as they implement the newly acquired skills it also improves the standards of the program.
In February 2019 we proudly opened our new Philipp Lahm sports field. It was opened by Dr Margarete and Klaus Doppler from iThemba Labantu e.V which organized the funds.
The former Captain of Bayern München and the German national team Philipp Lahm played in the opening match. Further dignitaries, like representatives of the Philipp Lahm Foundation that have funded the sports program for many years, attended the event.
The sport fields itself consists of a soccer, a netball and a basketball field. There ́s something very unique about the field. The land served and still does as a water detention point. It was quite neglected as people would dump their rubbish in the water canals which led to swarms of
mosquitos and unhealthy conditions. People would get robbed and raped when they crossed the field on the way home. We even witnessed people getting killed there. While still serving as a water detention point it was transformed into a beautiful sport field where the children are safe, can exercise and have fun.
Netball is a very popular game in South Africa and very similar to basketball. There are three girls teams. In addition to training and games, the girls also perform life skills training, which is highly important for girls in puberty. Here, problems can be addressed and advice can be offered. In addi-tion to the training, competitions are also held and attended.
Swimming, Rugby, Cricket
Philipp Lahm: “Sport is an ideal way to convey positive social values to children and adolescents: from my own experience, I know that regular football training teaches you to follow rules, trains teamwork and teaches you how to handle defeat as well as success. I support the football training of the iThemba Labantu FC with my foundation – I am convinced that the sports program gives children and young people access to further educational opportunities and opens up new perspectives.”
At the center are the age groups U6, U8, U10, U12, U14, The training takes place daily between 1600 and 1800.
Further information about the Philipp Lahm Foundation, in particular their support for the iThemba Labantu FC, can be found at:
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