Easter tournament to attract 1 280 future soccer stars
A TOTAL of 1 280 players will be in action in the Fain Northern Areas Football Association (Nafa) Easter Soccer Tournament in Gelvandale from April 3.
The tournament, now in its 42nd edition, has a proud reputation of being one of the biggest amateur soccer tournaments in South Africa, boasting 800 junior players (40 teams) and 480 senior players (24 teams). The contest kicks off at the Gelvandale Stadium and Gelvandale Fields in Port Elizabeth on Good Friday and finishes on Easter Monday.
Many famous players have participated in the tournament over the years. Mthatha Bucks and Kaizer Chiefs player Patrick Mayo, striker Daine Klate and goalkeeper Roland Williams (both SuperSport United) and Orlando Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus all honed some of their skills in the Nafa series before moving up to the bigger leagues.
Organising committee member and Brand Activation 101 chief executive Craig Diedericks says the tournament aims to help get youngsters off the streets.
“It’s just about the right time to get together and have fun some again. We are privileged to have a number of sponsors on board, Diedericks said.
“A lot of these guys have grown up in our areas through the years and for them to put back into the community is awesome.”
Fain’s Miley Ajam said although the sponsorship was only for this year, future options would be considered.
“This is a community building exercise, I have participated in this as a junior and I played as a senior.
“We won tournaments and now as a sponsor are very proud to be associated with this event,” Ajam said.
On the opening night, families will be entertained by Mellissa Allison of Idols SA, Tiffany Oosthuizen performing J’Adore, Patrick Lindoor and Charmaine Allison.
Isidingo’s Maurice Paige will be the programme director.
The performing dance groups will be PE’s Finest, Dejavu and Breaks.
The St George’s Park Brass Band will lead the parade.
The tournament is organised under the banner, “Help our children play”, which newlyelected Nafa president Clive Kilian believes has a deeper meaning.
“This slogan has much deeper meaning than only to help the children play football.
“In my understanding, football is the start of the collective effort to develop well-rounded individuals through sport,” Kilian said. “It may be that only two or three players of the hundreds at Nafa will reach the highest level of football.
“What about the rest? Our mandate is also to develop youngsters through football to become well-balanced and responsible members of the community,” he said.