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youthsoccer.jpgRis ing soccer stars win inaugural tourney

Lavela High School learners were on Cloud Nine after their soccer team lifted the inaugural June 16 Cup at Dobsonville Sports Grounds in Soweto at the weekend.

Hundreds of locals braved the biting wintry weather to witness one of the most exciting, thrill-a-minute amateur soccer competitions in the township on Saturday afternoon.

The four-team annual knockout tournament, whose objective is to promote positive social change among the youth in the spirit of Youth Month, was meant to feature three high schools drawn from the community of Dobsonville. But the third school did not make it to the tournament, leading the fourth side – the SABC Team, consisting of TV and radio personalities, including well-known soccer analyst Christopher Bongo – to automatically qualify for the final.

Lavela proceeded to the final after edging out Kwadeda High School 1-0 in a closely contested affair. In the final, Lavela emerged 2-0 victorious over a stubborn SABC Team. There was unbridled joy when the referee blew the final whistle. Lavela players were presented with the winners’ trophy, gold medals and a cheque for R6 000. Kwadeda were also rewarded for their efforts, bagging R1 500 in prize money as well as bronze medals.

After the match, Bongo delivered a motivational speech during which he emphasised to the learners that “if you can dream it, you can do it”. Elated Lavela coach Dan Makgale, who is also a teacher at the school, said winning the tournament would serve as a huge motivation for his players. He said with self-belief anything was possible.

Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Pro Active Communication, Edgar Rathelele said he was hopeful the tournament would be bigger and better next year.

“It was a learning curve for all involved and we hope to do better next year,” he said.

The tournament was sponsored by the National Youth Development Agency. Soccer balls were donated by Premier Soccer League club SuperSport United.