Former Bafana Bafana and Manchester United player, Quinton Fortune, applauded the work done by volunteers at the Grassroot Soccer’s Football for Hope Centre and urged young people not to be afraid to dream big.
The football icon visited the centre in Harare, Khayelitsha, and pupils at Eluxolweni Primary School in Site B on Monday February 19.
He said volunteers donated their time to invest in other people’s future.
He shared his story of growing up on the Cape Flats and the endless life challenges he faced.
Mr Fortune said the role the organisation was playing in the development of township children was indelible and irreplaceable. He said it was crucial that young people were given the right foundation.
“The first pay cheque I got, I bought my family a house. You guys are doing an unbelievable job. I want to share my story with the hope that they could be inspired. I hope this not just a visit, but I would love to be involved more and see the progress. I hope to raise more awareness about this programme and maybe other institutions might extend a helping hand. I hope I can help to raise money because that makes a huge difference,” he said.
He said it was crucial that funds raised reached the intended projects.
Mr Fortune urged young girls to play football and said they could be better than the boys. He said he believes that one day the country will have a woman president.
Grassroot site manager, Vuyo Gubesa, said as an organisation they were no longer only tackling issues related to HIV, but now also included sexual reproduction and rights.
He said they had initiated a three-year survey called Girls Achieve Power (GAP) in conjunction with various organisations and it was aimed at reducing the school drop-out rate and teenage pregnancy as well as promoting healthy living.
He said some of the challenges they faced was that some parents felt that the language they were using was extreme and other children were unable to attend their session because they had chores to do at home.
“We have seen many parents getting involved and that makes us proud. The visit by Mr Fortune means that we can take him under our wing and make him our ambassador. We need additional funding so that we could tackle other issues. We hope that this visit will bring more fortune for us,” he said.
Eluxolweni Primary School pupil Likhanya Ngquts, said being part of Grassroot helped him to deal with anger and to make informed choices.