Sponsor woes get SA down ahead of Streetfootball Cup

The South African streetfootball team, which is participating in the first Streetfootball World Cup, to be held during the Soccer World Cup in Berlin in July, is battling to find a local sponsor.

Akila Monate, the coach of the team, told the Mail & Guardian Online that finding local sponsorship has been tough.

“The players don’t have a [soccer] kit yet and that is our goal. I think the business community should come forward and be part of the developing world of streetfootball.
I’m appealing to the corporate world to come forth and help us,” he said.

Monate praised the team and said they are all excited and players motivated. “We will not allow anyone to rule us. We have the material and the skill to win [the Streetfootball World Cup].”

An invitation to participate in the first Streetfootball World Cup was extended to the Gauteng North Sport Council (GNSC) in March, in collaboration with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

Klemens Hubert, the South African director of the GTZ, told the M&G Online in March: “The only South African representation at the Soccer World Cup will be the streetfootball team in the [Streetfootball] World Cup. ”

The Streetfootball World Cup is an official element of the Artistic and Cultural Programme of the Fifa World Cup in Berlin, and serves under the Fifa Football for Hope Movement. Twenty six regions from five continents have been invited, of which only five regions are from Africa.

Gert Potgieter, president of the GNSC and the manager of the streetfootball team, told the M&G Online that even though two German companies are sponsoring the team’s air tickets and accommodation in Germany, local sponsorship is still needed for a kit and other travel costs.

He said he couldn’t believe that they haven’t been able to secure a local sponsor. “We need money for transport, a kit and training and education programmes. I’ve asked for a sponsor from the Department of Sports and Recreation. But the department said they will look at it because they haven’t got money, and they will see if they can find a budget.

“I’ve tried 20 other major companies and Absa and Vodacom referred me to Safa [South African Football Association]. But I don’t get a response from them. Luckily the Germans saved the situation,” he said.

Potgieter said the team “are under a hard programme” to prepare them for the event.

“The players are well prepared. We are going for a win. We want to be the champions. We want to show them that we are better than Bafana Bafana. I’m very positive and [the players] are very excited and motivated. They are looking forward to the competitions,” he said.

Cliff Ntsoereng (21), the captain of the eight-member team, said most of the players are from townships.

“For us it’s like a dream come true that we’re going to Germany. Most people don’t recognise players from the township. And for us, this is an opportunity,” he said.

Players in the team range between the ages of 16 and 21 and the team includes one female, said Ntsoereng.

“I know we’ll compete well, because we have a good coach and good players. We train twice a week, and on Sunday we are going to play a warm-up match against another team from Mabopane,” he said.

“It’s the first time for me that I’m going overseas. I’m very excited. I feel that it’s an honour to represent my country.

“We’re going to win. We’re all on a positive high and are focused on bringing the trophy home,” said Ntsoereng

The team departs for Berlin on June 25 and will kick-off their first match against Germany on July 2.

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