Minister Meyer on the Eight Nations under-20 Soccer Challenge in Cape Town
Media Statement by Ivan Meyer, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
The Western Cape Government believes in the philosophy of Better Together. The Eight Nations under-20 Challenge tournament reflects this philosophy as the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government and SAFA Cape Town have joined forces to deliver this major football event. The individual resources at our disposal are being brought together to stage a tournament that will mirror the successful staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Western Cape Government is injecting a cash amount of R1.5 million into the tournament. This will be further supplemented by provincial services such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
It is important that we position Cape Town as a soccer-friendly city and a place where football is played. This tournament, however, is not only about our support for football and youth development but also about support for our continent, Africa. The opening match on 25 May 2012 between South Africa and Argentina will therefore coincide with Africa Day. As the first whistle signals the kick-off to the Eight Nations under-20 Challenge tournament, South Africa will join the continent in celebrating Africa Day, a day to reflect on the proud achievements of the African continent and its infinite possibilities.
Africa is also becoming increasingly a major trading partner. Seven out of ten of the fastest growing economies in the world are on the African continent. The event is therefore another platform for the Western Cape to promote itself as a sport and recreation mecca and develop linkages with tourism and other industries.
The Western Cape Government believes in excellence. This tournament not only creates an opportunity for talent to be showcased. It also allows for football excellence to be displayed and for football bodies such the local football associations to benefit for the capacity-building initiatives an event of this nature creates.
As mentioned earlier, the staging of the 2012 Eight Nations under-20 Challenge tournament coincides with the continent's celebration of African Day. The event therefore gives us an ideal platform to build bridges between the people of the Western Cape and the rest of Africa. It also gives us the opportunity to build bridges between the communities across the Metro. I am therefore extremely happy that SAFA Cape Town has made every effort to makes this event as inclusive as possible. Football builds bridges. Football builds social inclusion.
The Western Cape Government encourages the citizens of our province to support this event. Your support will send out a strong message that the Western Cape supports football. I urge you to purchase your tickets, fill the stadiums and witness future football stars display their amazing talent. We wish the organisers well and reaffirm our support for the Eight Nations under-20 Challenge.