Playing the game to end abuse

Soccer players committed themselves to fight the abuse of women and children.

A non-profit company that addresses gender-based violence, crime and fatherlessness by restoring and equipping men to be nation-builders, fathers and role models spent last Tuesday afternoon visiting sports grounds, addressing youth about gender-based violence.

The topic was “Be a good role model to the next generation and be a man with good character”.

The organisation, Father a Nation, urged the young soccer players to ensure that women were respected and treated with respect.

Pastor Eric Sipezi gave out rings and wristbands with the words “no excuse” printed on them.

He said his organisation was mentoring men who needed help. “We visited the stadiums and playing grounds to target young men and boys.

“We felt a need to speak to them to understand that women are human beings too. We want them to know there is no excuse for abuse. We want them to protect their families and protect their community,” he said.

However, noted Mr Sipezi, they had also learned that many many do not have anyone to share their problems with. And so the organisation also aimed to help men to speak out their problems before they make wrong decisions.

“There are also men who play the sport and we hope they will teach boys as to how to be a man. Men should show these boys how to treat women and girls. This is a good place to educate these young people. Playing grounds are a place where they all converge. That is why we are visiting these places. The mission is to raise the next generation of men to build a safe and prosperous country,” he said.

He also encouraged team officials to provide guidance to the young people.

The Black Birds Soccer Academy players at Nyanga stadium, where the campaign ended, indicated that gender-based violence does not only affect women and girls but them too.

They backed the campaign, said it was important for men to stand up and articulate their opposition against violence against women.

“Everyone, every individual, and every player should be opposed to violence in all its forms,” said Khwezi Stofile. “There is really no excuse to abuse women and children. As this team, these players we say to men out there, stop attacks against women.”

The players made a commitment that they protect women and children.

The organisation can be reached on 076 761 0840.

Eric Sipezi distributes wristbands and rings to players of Black Birds Soccer Academy at the Nyanga stadium last Tuesday evening.