City Masters Sports Club and Education, which had its origins as a strategy to keep the youth away from township street corners and instead participate in sport is reaping the fruits of its harvest big time.

Even the participants sing immense praises for the benefits they have come to enjoy since joining.

Formed in 2000, the organisation operates under the auspices of the bigger Pauline Podbrey Foundation, and is very active in areas like Makhaza and other surrounding sections of Khayelitsha.

Pauline Podbrey was well-known isn South African political circles having been active through a young age through her father, a known socialist in the 1930s South Africa.

She and her family left the country again in 1951 due to the political changes. But she returned after the unbanning of political parties in 1990, and was active in politics until her passing in December 2009.

Today her foundation works hand-in-hand with the Sports Club, as it is commonly known, which, in turn is regarded as a second home to about 300 youngsters.

The soccer club alone is made up of age-related divisions of over 21 teams, the same as the netball team.

The education programme helps learners with after school tutoring, access to free internet, library services and registration and transport fees for those who have passed matric and wish to further their studies at tertiary level.

Msondezi Matiwane, 45, the founder of City Masters Sports Club and Education, said he was concerned after noticing that most youth spent time sitting in street corners which made them vulnerable to criminal activities.

He then approached them and introduced his ideas of getting them involved in sport.

After engaging them, “their answer was that they do not have anything to do. I then sold my idea for starting a soccer club to them, which they were immediately excited about,” he shared.

Soon, the team grew in numbers.

Matiwane said he offered them food whilst also looking for sponsors for the team.

Ït was crucial that we have sponsors on board for kits and other paraphernalia,” Matiwane said.

Professor Norman Morrison, from UCT was their original funder until he introduced them to Maurice Podbrey, a theatre personality and Pauline’s brother, who in turn introduced them to the foundation.

Matiwane said the relationship has since produced graduates at tertiary institutions and some youngsters have moved on to join well-known soccer clubs..

“I am very happy, because it was my dream to see the club grow. I want parents to know that there is such a club and that they must send their children here,” he added.

Golden Arrow Bus Services funds their transport needs..

Olwethu Sityata, 15, one of the youths in the sports club, highly praised it.

“I learnt a lot since I joined the sports club at the age of 6. They are helping us a lot with school work and other things,”.

Loyiso Damoyi, an executive member of the sports club, said they have plans to recruit pre-school children, crime prevention league which will see rival gang groups called to play soccer against each other with hope to make peace between them.

“The club is giving hope where there is despair. They (youth) are very happy for being part of the club,” Damoyi said

Source: News24