The first Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha in the outskirts of Cape Town opened its doors today (5 December 2009). FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was joined by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) CEO Danny Jordaan, South African Football Association President Kirsten Nematandani and Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town Dan Plato at the celebration of the latest milestone of 20 Centres for 2010, the Official Campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Among the special guests were Football for Hope ambassador Dr Gabriele Princess Inaara the Begum Aga Khan and former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe.
The centre, which is the first of 20 community centres, will help to tackle HIV/AIDS and some of the biggest issues facing young people across the African continent. “With the opening of this Football for Hope Centre, we can now see the real legacy that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will leave in Africa,” said the FIFA President. “This centre will use people’s passion for football to transform communities and to provide hope and opportunities for young people. Many years from now people will still be benefiting from this and the other 20 Centres for 2010.”
The next five centres will be built by FIFA and its strategic ally streetfootballworld in disadvantaged communities in Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Rwanda and Ghana and will address crucial issues like health, education, gender equality, peace-building and the environment as well as HIV and AIDS – considered to be one of the greatest challenges faced by young people in Africa.
“When the FIFA President asked me to become a Football For Hope ambassador several months ago, I accepted very happily. Football for Hope offers a unique platform for various sectors of society to implement social change,” said Begum Inaara Aga Khan.
The centre in Khayelitsha has been built in an area once notorious for crime and violence as part of an initiative to breathe new life into the community. It provides rooms for public health services and informal education, office space, common space for community gatherings and a football turf pitch.
“We are hoping that this initiative will have a positive influence in our society and enhance our efforts to build a better future for our young people. For us it was always important that this FIFA World Cup would touch the lives of ordinary people, and this campaign is a great example,” explained Nematandani.
Each of the 20 centres will be run by an existing community organisation. The Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha will be managed by Grassroot Soccer, a South African-based non-profit organisation that uses football to educate young people about HIV and AIDS and empower them with the knowledge to live HIV-free. “This was more like a crime spot, but now it is more like an activity spot where people come to enjoy themselves,” said Zamayedwa Sogayise, chairperson of the Khayelitsha Development Forum.