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Christmas Surprise at United Through Sport Argentina

In November, Kevin Hagiel from Germany travelled to Buenos Aires to support United Through Sport Argentina. He is a player and coach at FC St. Pauli Rabauken in Hamburg. He came to Buenos Aires for a 6 week Football Volunteer programme and did a great job. His Spanish was good enough to gain the kids attention and affections.

By Christmas Eve, Kevin had finished his programme, but he couldn’t leave before giving some special presents to the kids he had been coaching for the past 6 weeks. At the end of his final session, when all of the kids thought it was time to finish, Kevin revealed the special gifts that he and FC St. Pauli Rabauken had arranged for them. Sport shirts, shorts and socks were given to the kids. Christmas came early for the kids from Pereyra park and for Kevin too, who couldn’t believe how happy and grateful the kids were.

We want to thank Kevin Hagiel and FC St. Pauli Rabauken for this amazing gesture. Beside Messi, Aguero and Tevez is a new name – and that name is Kevin.

 

Ghana Football Boys take on rival Ghana Academy

The Ghana Academy boys recently enjoyed a weekend trip to Sogakope in Ghana’s Volta Region to play the West African Football Academy, which up until recently was known as Feyenoord Football Academy – an incredibly good and well known Academy in Ghana. For this meeting our U13 and U17 squad’s represented United Through Sport in Ghana and did incredibly well.

The U’13s started brightly with some excellent pressure on the Feyenoord defence. As the game continued, more pressure from striker Wisdom Afrani led to a mistake at the back and he capitalised by rounding the keeper before slotting the ball away for a 1-0 lead. The boys were playing really well and with the pace from Sadiq Bawa threatening down wings led to the second goal, a great run by the winger with a calm finish in the bottom corner!

The second half started slowly in the 40 degree heat, a good move from Feyenoord ended in a good finish to half the lead United Through Sport had at half time. A few injuries forced a couple of substitutes which saw some of the younger development squad (U’11/U’12) boys make their first appearances for United Through Sport. With around ten minutes left a fantastic goal was scored by the United Through Sport side clinching a third goal. The ball was won in the centre of the pitch and a great move sweeping out to the right wing and quick low cross was put away by the goal scoring midfielder Charles McCarthy!

A great win for the boys against very tough opponents.

The U’17s started well holding on to the ball and playing some nice football. Unfortunately their good play didn’t lead to us taking the lead. Feyenoord hit us on the break and a nice finish put them 1-0 up. Not long after the opening goal we equalised with a very powerful finish from Ibrahim Sulley from a tight angle.

The second half was a close battle with neither team really taking the initiative, the midfield was being controlled by Joseph Amoah – who recently just returned from a training tour in the UK with St Mirren and Portsmouth – the game was ticking by and unfortunately Feyenoord hit us on the break and scored a second goal, after an initial good save from Amadu Ibrahim.

A close game, but in the end we fell just short, despite controlling the game!

10th Anniversary Boat Party Reunion

United Through Sport is excited to announce our 10th Anniversary Reunion Party. We want to celebrate the ongoing hard work done by our staff and thank all of our volunteers for the support they have provided over the decade of operations that began in South Africa.

To show our gratitude, we are throwing a reunion party for all those who have supported United Through Sport’s cause over the last ten years. The night will take place on a cruise down the river Thames on the 20th December, from 20:00 until midnight. On board is a bar, dance floor and DJ, so everything is in place for a really fantastic evening!

Admission is in the form of a donation of £20.00. To book your place, click here and follow the “joining instructions” on screen. You will be given the option of putting your name with the donation – please remember to do this so we know exactly who has paid and who is attending. If you are a UK taxpayer then you will be eligible for Gift Aid, so remember to use this option when prompted (it means that the government will give us an extra 25% on top your donation, at no extra cost to you!).

Unfortunately, the contact details we have for a lot of our volunteers may be out of date, so if there is anybody that you think we might not have been able to contact please extend this invitation to them if possible.

If you need any further details, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can e-mail Jack or Ia at the United Through Sport office on [email protected]

This will be a great opportunity to get back in touch with the friends you’ve made through United Through Sport and we would really love to see you all there!

Brazil Success for South Africa

“Wow….what a two weeks it has been. I don’t even know where to start! We have just returned from what feels like a dream” – Athapelele Ngwendu, United Through Sport South Africa Scholar.

These were the words of one of our 8 children returning from Brazil having participated in the Street Football World Cup alongside the FIFA event. The trip was to take part in a Football competition but what the group got from it was a whole lot more.

From visiting local Favelas and interacting with the local community to learning Capoeira (a Brazilian form of dance fighting), playing in front of crowds of 100’s in the bustling city centre of Sao Paulo (the largest city in South America) to learning Spanish and making life-long friends with their Argentinean house mates. This trip was filled with such a richness of experiences and learning opportunities that it will take many more weeks to fully digest what they have done and achieved.

On the field the team did extremely well considering their age and background. We cruised through the group stages of the competition with big wins over USA and Costa Rica and a nail biting victory over the Philippines, only to set-up an extremely tough encounter with Ghana in the round of 16. The team were unlucky to lose to a much older, stronger more physical Ghanaian team. From here we moved into a ‘Fair-play’ group which we topped by beating Philippines and Panama and drawing with Sierra Leone, who boasted a full time professional player. Proudly we also finished the competition as one of the few teams to finish with maximum fair-play points for Respect, Cooperation and Solidarity.

Off the field the kids made us even more proud. We proved to be one of the most popular and well supported teams in the competition, especially amongst the locals. This was in no doubt due to the open nature in which our kids engaged with the many other teams and cultures they came across.

A true testament to the impact they had on the other teams was at the fair-well, when we left our house mates from Argentina, Philippines and Panama where endless tears flowed as the new friends were separated for the first time.

It was a truly wonderful trip for the United Through Sport kids that participated which created experiences and memories that will last for a life time. Most important is the lasting impact that the trip has had on their interpersonal skills, their cultural awareness and their aspirations for the future.

“I learned about so many different countries and cultures, I learned Spanish, Portuguese, German and Filipino. We took part in so many discussions and debates and we saw and experienced so many new things. I really feel like our brains were bombarded with new information to learn. It’s left me with a desire to travel more, see more and learn more…I will never forget this experience” – Lindiwe Cezula – United Through Sport South Africa Scholar.

Check out a video of Lindiwe’s trip to the Brazilian World Cup 2014.

Round of 16 Clash with Ghana

After cruising through the group stages of the Street Football World Cup with three wins, United Through Sport South Africa were given an extremely tough round of 16 clash against Africa Continental Champions Ghana.

Going into the clash, Ghana were regarded as one of the favourites to win the tournament, with a much older and stronger group of players and only one female in their line-up. Ghana also boasted two full time professional players in their ranks. So this was always going to be a David V’s Goliath situation.

The United Through Sport team fought bravely throughout the game and late in the second half looked like possibly causing an upset after coming back from 4-1 down to make the score 4-3 and give Ghana a tense last few minutes.

Unfortunately the upset was not to be and the game finished 5-3 in favour of the older more experienced Ghana side.

Our South Africa side showed their integrity throughout and came away with maximum value points for fair play, respect and cooperation, with Ghana only picking up one point out of three.

We now fall out of the main competition but go into a ‘Fair play’ group to continue to fight for further honours.

“Our team fought really hard and I’m so proud of the fact that they maintained their values and integrity throughout. We are now one of only 5 remaining teams to have picked up maximum value points in all of our games. In context it’s important to remember that we are one of the youngest teams here, with our youngest player being only 14 compared to most teams playing with 20 and 21 year olds. We are also one of the few teams participating with four boys and four girls to give equal gender balance. Lets also remember we have also gone further in the competition than any senior Bafana Bafana team at a World Cup”. Nick Mould – United Through Sport South Africa Coach

Opening Wins in Brazil

United Through Sport South Africa take maximum points on opening day in Brazil

The United Through Sport team representing South Africa at the Street Football World Cup got off to a dream start on the opening day of the tournament with two wins from two games.

The Street Football World Cup is taking place over the next 7 days with teams from 24 countries around the world competing in the centre of Sao Paulo, Brazil for the coveted title of World Street Football Champions.

United Through Sport is the representative team for South Africa and took 8 young people from our Senior School of Excellence Programme (4 boys and 4 girls) to take part in the tournament. The tournament is not just about Football but places a big emphasis on the cultural exchange; promoting fair-play, respect and cooperation. At the end of each game, teams are awarded a potential extra three points depending on how well the opposition and mediators feel they complied with the aspects promoted.

The team made an unbelievable start beating Costa Rica 5-1 in their first encounter as well as picking up all three extra points for the positive manner in which they played. They then went on to top their first result by beating USA 7-0 in the second game of the day; once again taking maximum points for fair-play, respect and solidarity, to end the day, top of their group.

It was a great first day for the United Through Sport team who were the talk of the day and enjoyed the media attention they received from CNN and Brasil Sport TV.

“We really feel like celebrities here, the children are coming up and asking for photos and autographs and the media cameras are following us around and continuously asking for interviews. It’s such an amazing feeling and to be in Brazil while the World Cup is taking place just makes it even better.” Lorenda Fezile: United Through Sport South Africa team member.

Over a 1000 balls donated

After a generous donation of over a 1000 balls (football, basketball, netball and rugby) and various sports kit from sports manufacturer OPRO, we have been able to distribute this out to our teams in Ghana. A massive thanks goes out to OPRO for this huge support.

“Thank you for the photos! They are lovely. We are extremely happy to see the balls being put to good use.” Sophie Lovat – Development Director

As we continue to build our teams overseas there is a big need to provide a consistent flow of decent sports equipment. Without the right tools for the job we cannot expect our kids to develop to their full potential in their respective sports. So this comes as a huge help.

It is quite a mission for us to ship and transport equipment from the UK overseas, but on rare occasions this is possible. Our preferred method of getting equipment to our partners in Argentina, Ghana and South Africa is to raise funds to purchase the equipment locally. This not only saves the hassle of shipment and import duty costs, it also helps to build up a local economy by supporting sports equipment retailers in the disadvantaged communities where we work.

If you feel you would like to get involved with supporting our equipment distribution project then you can visit our donate page.

One World Futbol Project Kicks Off

United Through Sport is delighted to announce the commencement of our campaign with One World Futbol Project. As of Tuesday 15th April, you can purchase a nearly indestructible ball and choose to give one to United Through Sport to distribute to underprivileged children in Ghana, South Africa and Argentina.

The One World Futbol is the brainchild of inventor Tim Jahnigen. Mr Jahnigen, witnessed a news clip of children in a Darfur refugee camp playing football with trash wrapped in twine. Moved by what he saw in the children’s faces, Tim conceived the idea of an indestructible football to give children all over the world in poverty; warzones and needy communities the unlimited power of play. Funding for the prototypes came from none other than megastar Sting. Sting, a personal friend of Mr Jahnigen, was also touched by this idea and understood the healing therapy that play gives these children.

United Through Sport hopes to raise in excess of 1000 balls to put thousands of smiles on the faces of underprivileged children. With every ball donated to United Through Sport, our organisation will also receive $5. This money will be used to help build our brand new Sporting School of Excellence in Accra.

The One World Futbol is the same size and weight as a normal football, it also adapts to its environment to play the same on any surface whether that is dust, concrete or grass. If your dog has made your garden look like a graveyard for regular footballs, then you will be delighted to know that Triton the Lion in Johannesburg Zoo couldn’t come close to deflating or even damaging a One World Futbol in two days of rugged testing!

The balls don’t require pumping up. If deflated, they simply take their shape again in seconds, even if ran over by a huge truck! The children we work with do not have a vast array of toys and games, giving them the unlimited power of play gives them the chance to play, practice and most of all smile.

Businesses and individuals that do not wish to have a ball for themselves can elect to give balls in bulk to enable United Through Sport to raise more balls for deprived children, whilst helping us to move closer to building our new School of Excellence to nurture talented individuals in their respective sports and academically.

Please get involved with One World Futbol Project and United Through Sport, whether the ball you purchase is for yourself; your children; your nephews or nieces; your godchildren; your cousins; your neighbour; your dog; your old School; your weekly indoor football game or just to keep in the boot of your car for those precious Summer barbecues, festivals and beach days… see the link below for more information and purchasing.

http://www.oneworldfutbol.com/campaigns/united-through-sport

Meet Lindiwe – Our Netball Scholar

Supported through our School of Excellence Programme in South Africa, Lindiwe comes from a typically tough background having grown up in the township of Kwazakhele in Port Elizabeth without ever knowing her father. Her mother has never worked formally and spent most of Lindiwe’s life away in her original home town of Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape. As a result Lindiwe has been mostly brought up by her older sister, along with her two other siblings and nephew. Her older sister runs a ‘Shebeen’ (township drinking bar) in the informal settlement of Gqebera and Lindiwe sleeps in the store room with her cousin, surrounded by beer crates.

Despite her tough circumstances, or perhaps as a result of them, Lindiwe stood out in the United Through Sport Programme as a talented Netball player with an attitude of true grit and determination to succeed. As a result, United Through Sport secured a scholarship for her part way through grade 9 to Pearson High School in 2011. In her first term, the gulf in education looked like it would be too much – she failed every subject scoring only 11% in maths and 13% in English. Yet, Lindiwe had been given this opportunity for a reason and her determination came to the fore. She worked for 5 hours every night to complete her homework and do extra catch up classes , every Friday she would take an English book from the library and read it over the weekend and return it on Monday. Gradually her results improved due to her hardwork and perseverance. Lindiwe is now in grade 12 at Pearson, she is an active member of the debating society and represents the school in Netball. Her ambition is to become a Lawyer and she has applied to four of the top Universities in South Africa. She is on track to be amongst our first group of children to go to University each of whom will be the first in their families to do so.

Lindiwe is not a stand out child of our programme, but rather a typical example of the children we work with who come from such difficult circumstances yet have so much potential to completely change their own lives and the lives of their families for good.

If you would like to support others like Lindiwe then click on the Sponsor a Child link below.

Nick Abendanon becomes Ambassador

Nick Abendanon, England and Bath Rugby player joins our ever growing list of sports Ambassadors.

“United Through Sport are doing incredible things that are changing lives around the world. Through their work they have enabled tens of thousands of kids to have a better education and greater access to sport. I am a particular advocate of their work because of my close links to South Africa, where United Through Sport have been working for more than 10 years. I wish them continued success as they progress into other areas and I will support them 100% of the way”.

Nick Abendanon: English Rugby Union Player