Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

20 April 2022

The Shaka Easter Soccer Tournament in collaboration with strategic partners such as Curro Academy Soshanguve, Vumatel, PPC, Business Partners Ltd, HM Pitje, Maluleke Spar and the City of Tshwane made it possible once again to create even more extraordinary opportunities for the youth to develop their skills and unleash their potential by playing the beautiful game.

The tournament, in its second year, kicked off from 15 to 17 April 2022 at Giant Stadium in Soshanguve, Tshwane, promising to help over 200 South African youth get closer to achieving their dreams of becoming professional soccer players.

Tshepo Letjane, President and Founder of Shaka Easter Soccer Tournament said the event is regarded as a powerful tool in the fight against unemployment, gender-based violence, lack of skills development, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and abuse against the elderly.   

“Our intention is to take our kids off the streets and give them opportunities to be more pro-active, instill them with the mentality of being focused and goal-driven and help them achieve their dreams through the game of football.

“The tournament has grown significantly since its inception in 2021, from 16 teams in the Open and Masters divisions last year to 32 teams across Open, Masters, Women, Under 13, and Under 17 divisions this year,” said Letjane.

As the tournament’s sponsor, the leading South African fibre provider, Vumatel, invested in the players’ development by covering the event’s costs and providing every team with soccer kits, so the players have a sense of pride when they are on the field.

“I appreciate the fact that even though we might not win the tournament, we still walk away as winners because of the soccer kits that we get to keep and wear when we play in other matches after the tournament, that’s the real prize for a small local team like ours.

“We are grateful to Vuma and hope they continue to sponsor the tournament in the future, so more kids can have the same experience as us and access the same opportunities this platform created,” said Nkateko Tibane, Shaka United soccer player.

The soccer tournament aims to empower players like Tibane and the community of Soshanguve by creating positive connections between the players, community members, and organisations.

Its goal is to put the community on the map and award it the recognition it deserves for the talent it has produced.

“We didn’t have opportunities like this while growing up, taking part in the Shaka Easter Soccer Tournament is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids.

“This platform helps them feel positive about themselves and shows them that it’s possible to break away from whatever negative circumstances might be holding them back from achieving their dreams, like becoming a professional soccer player,” said Lucky Lekgwathi, retired football defender for Orlando Pirates.

“We’re always thrilled to create opportunities that give our youth a shot at a better life, which is why we’re so excited to continue our partnership with the Shaka Easter Tournament, we realise that this is more than just a soccer tournament for the players in Soshanguve; it’s an opportunity to open doors and achieve something great.

“We believe that by continuing to empower these young players, we can empower communities, and by empowering communities, we can build a more inclusive economy,” Taylor Kwong, CSI Manager at Vuma said.