EASTERN Cape champions City Lads are preparing for the Kia National Street Soccer finals, which will be held in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The New Brighton pupils will compete against teams from the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Free State.
Lads comprises both boys and girls under the age of 13.
Defending champions Western Cape are the favourites, but Lads fancy their chances.
Since its inception in 2010 Kia Street Soccer, which was part of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, has attracted about 800 teams of six players each participating in the regional leagues.
The programme also teaches life skills through the game of soccer to children who live in communities affected by poverty and crime.
New Brighton Football Association coordinator Sibusiso Nqadeni said the final games in Gauteng would be a trip of a lifetime for the Lads players.
“These children have never been in a plane before.
“We’ve already written letters to their various schools to excuse them from classes on Friday.
“They have been very excited about this trip since their provincial victory.”
Kia Motors SA chief executive Ray Levin said the competition had doubled in size to reach 6000 this year, increasing from 20 to 40 regions around the country.
“We hope to continue to increase the number of children playing soccer and use this captivating and compelling game to engage and empower on a grand scale.
“The finalists have a wonderful opportunity to travel and meet kids from all over South Africa, making lasting friendships while soaking up all the good values this programme engenders.”