Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Football Legends Help Open Soweto's Castrol Skillz Holiday Program

The 2010 Castrol Skillz Holiday Programme got off to a flying start on 14 June when international football hero, Marcel Desailly, and local football legend, Jomo Sono, launched the programme at Leresche Primary School in Soweto. Taking time out of their busy World Cup schedules were the likes of former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Andre Arendse; former Bafana Bafana, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates player, Pollen Ndlanyana; and ex Bafana player and sports presenter, Marks Maponyane. For Sono it was a particularly emotional day as he was returning to his former primary school for the event. During his address he shared some hilarious childhood memories and encouraged the youngsters participating in the Castrol Skillz Holiday Programme to seize the opportunity with both hands.

During the action packed event local and international media were clamoring to get a piece of the action especially when Desailly and Sono started participating in one of the Skillz Sessions.

Bill Myles, Grassroot Soccer's Chief Operating, was there to witness the strong outpouring of support for national programme which will see 45 camps taking place across South Africa, touching the lives of 4,500 children. Commenting on his experience he said. “It was wonderful to receive such great support from so many soccer greats. It’s very inspiring to see how many people believe in this programme and what it can achieve.”

After the formal proceedings the youngsters joined Castrol staff, the media and the football celebrities on the newly revamped football pitch. The youngsters welcomed the new comers with open arms and pretty soon the field was alive with excited shouts and exclamations. The vibe and energy during the whole event was amazing with people laughing and sharing moments together. After a long bout of media interviews, Jono Somo, was soon seen kicking for goal with some of the young participants bravely defending while Marcel Desailly sat quietly with a group of children, listening to one of the Grassroot Soccer coaches talk about HIV/Aids. Desailly seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself as his expression softened when a young boy in the group moved up to sit closer to him.

Polly Flinn, Castrol’s Global Vice President for Marketing, and her team didn’t waste any time getting thoroughly involved in one of the Skillz sessions. She was visibly humbled after the session finished.

“It was an honour to be present at the launch of a programme that is striving towards building a better South Africa,” she said.

In the next month during the World Cup, Castrol and Grassroot Soccer will be rolling out 45 holiday camps, across 7 provinces in South Africa. An estimated 4,500 young people will be touched by the programme. It’s time to make a difference!

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