CHAN 2014 Unites Communities
The curtain may have closed on the 2014 African Nations Championship, but for many first-time spectators, this tournament was an experience they will carry for a very long time. Libya claimed the title after defeating Ghana on a penalty shootout in the tournament final at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 1 February 2014.
Since the start of CHAN, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) hosted a number of successful soccer tournaments in communities in the Western Cape to encourage people to “Adopt a Nation” and promote community interest for CHAN.
A total of 16 communities across the province participated in these “mini” tournaments. It was filled with fun, and players and spectators were united. This formed part of the DCAS mass community mobilisation campaign to get people interested in CHAN. Thousands of complementary tickets were distributed along the way to watch the action at the Athlone and Cape Town stadiums. DCAS also provided free transport for these ticket-holders on match days.
“Our mass mobilisation tournament and campaigns was a success,” said Colin Cedras of DCAS Club Development. “Many spectators were able to experience live soccer for the first time, especially at the Cape Town Stadium. This allowed them to join in the crowd atmosphere, while it had an influential impact on these junior soccer players, who participated in our tournament. One day, they too may be participating in big tournaments such as CHAN.”
Participants who watched the CHAN final on Saturday had a blast. Budding soccer player Roger Theunissen (15) from Ravensmead said he always wanted to watch international soccer. “It’s my first time at the Cape Town Stadium with my friends. We’re grateful for this opportunity to see the action. I dream to also play here one day, whether for one of the Cape Town sides or the national team.”
DCAS officials have been at the coal-face of sport delivery throughout the tournament, regardless of ill-informed criticism. Within the constraints of available resources, they have continued to create opportunities for our communities to experience the thrill of watching international soccer in Cape Town.