ShadowBall – a local initiative to develop grassroots rugby at under-resourced schools in Hammanskraal – is taking root.
In partnership with Mastercard and Pick n Pay, 1 200 girls and boys from 12 local primary schools were selected to join an eight-week touch rugby programme.
Makgatle Primary School won the 2019 ShadowBall Touch Rugby League, after beating St Athanasius.
The ShadowBall Pass Booster programme is held in association with the Hammanskraal Sports Company, Touch Rugby South Africa and Gauteng Touch Rugby Association.
It not only teaches physical skills such as passing and catching and hand-eye co-ordination, but also helps learners master other life skills such as teamwork, respect, and discipline through the experience they gain on the field.
During the programme, each school received training kits and four weekly training sessions by two local coaches trained by ShadowBall.
A team from each school was then selected to compete at the ShadowBall Touch Rugby tournament held at the Hammanskraal sports complex.
Playing for school honour and glory, the children put their newly learnt skills to the test.
Deputy chief education specialist policy and planning at the Gauteng department of education in Tshwane north district Ashraf Dawood said all schools in Hammanskraal were non-fee-paying schools lacked facilities and equipment.
“All of our schools in Hammanskraal are non-fee paying schools which lack facilities and equipment. The learners love and excel in sports, but with no proper fields or equipment, their talent is not explored. Mastercard, ShadowBall and Pick n Pay have given us hope by exposing our learners to an exciting form of rugby.”
Founder and managing director of ShadowBall Gary Crookes said touch rugby was a truly inclusive sport as it can be played by everybody.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are a girl or boy, if you are tall or short or what background you come from. This programme has helped the youth in Hammanskraal learn physical skills, gain confidence and make new friends. We believe communities that play sport together are healthier and happier.”
Senior vice-president of marketing and communication Beatrice Cornacchia said rugby was a passion that united people.
“What better way to start something priceless than by giving South Africans the opportunity to come together for children who have so much potential but are held back by a lack of resources. Together with our partners, we are honoured to give these youths the platform to pursue their passion for sport and help them reach their full potential.”
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