Police tourney derails youth from crime

Police officers, staff of Old Mutual and children gathered around the donated trophies and medals.

Khayelitsha police officers recently hosted its annual soccer tournament and life awareness session for children in the township.

The tournament was held in Site B just a few metres from the Khayelitsha rugby stadium last Friday. About 50 children participated.

Captain Ntandazo Mancanca, said part of their mission was to use sport to drive home the message about the dangers of being involved in crime and drugs. Captain Mncanca said they had realised that if they wanted to get the attention of the boys they had to use sport to get their message across.

He said many children got involved in drugs during the holidays because their parents were at work and there was no one to monitor their movements.

And he advised children to be mindful of who they associate themselves with. But most importantly, he said, they should not engage with strangers and must always inform their parents about their whereabouts.

He said one of the main challenges they had faced in the past was youth gangs in Site B and Site C. Boys who became involved with these gangs, he said, often did not attend school, and sometimes engaged in violent activities.

“We want these boys not to fall into the trap of doing drugs and crime. We want them to make informed life choices. We are using sport to denounce crime. Crime does not pay. We want the boys to get involved in sport rather than criminal activities,” he said.

One of the programme participants, Likho Vubela, said he learnt that crime did not pay. The 12-year-old said he had always loved to play football and hoped to become a professional player one day.

Old Mutual branch manager in Site B, Ntombi Manzana, said they provided medals, trophies and certificates and wanted to get more involved in programmes which were intended to uplift the community.