The Philippi community in Cape Town is set to unveil a newly renovated soccer field on 26th March, coinciding with a scheduled visit by the King and Queen of Belgium. With help from the Belgian Chamber of Commerce and the Belgian Consul General in Cape Town, the original playing field has been changed after being ignored for years.
Addressing the Need for Adequate Sports Facilities
Even though Philippi has 32 soccer teams that are part of the South African Football Association, the players could only train on a few fields until today. Mathias Bogaert, Consul General of the Consulate General of Belgium in Cape Town, says, “When we heard about the situation, we decided we had to do something.”
At the beginning of the year, the embassy started soliciting money for the project by asking the Belgian business community in South Africa for help. As a result, the soccer field has now been leveled, new goalposts are being added, and the completion of the grass pitch is still underway.
Providing More Than Just a Sports Facility
In addition to financing the rehabilitation of the field, the fundraising also helped secure soccer kits and equipment for the community’s players. As a result, the soccer field will now be part of Philippi Village hub, a mixed-use development hub, for community programs, including vocational training, digital training, COVID-19 prevention, and street art.
The South African-Belgian art company Baz-Art has partnered with the well-known urban artist Wayne Bks to give a bit more color to the area. The artwork of Pelé, a famous Brazilian soccer player, shows the simple joy and fun of playing soccer and how it can unite people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Connecting the Community Through Soccer
According to Ntsikelelo Qinga, community liaison at Philippi Village, “Soccer is one of the great connectors, with the power to engage, inspire, and uplift.” The newly renovated soccer field is a testament to the power of community collaboration and the positive impact of sports facilities on the youth.
Qinga says, “We hope that the soccer field will be a place where our children can play safely and enjoy the benefits of having a fully-equipped sports facility in their neighborhood.” “And who knows, maybe the next great soccer player will be born there.”
The Philippi community’s newly renovated soccer field is an excellent example of what can be achieved through community collaboration and support. It will provide a safe and fully-equipped sports facility for the community’s youth while also promoting social cohesion and connection through the power of soccer.