Canadian soccer team delights SOS children

Two days before their final international friendly of the 2007 season, the Canadian men’s national team took time to visit the children at the SOS Children’s Village Pietermaritzburg in the Republic of South Africa. The day was equally fun for the adults and children.



According to village director Siphiwe Maphanga, the visit by both the national team and the Canadian High Commission was “history in our village”.

Two days before their final international friendly of the 2007 season, the Canadian men’s national team took time to visit the children at the SOS Children’s Village Pietermaritzburg in the Republic of South Africa. The day was equally fun for the adults and children.



According to village director Siphiwe Maphanga, the visit by both the national team and the Canadian High Commission was “history in our village”.



The 30-person team decked out in soccer kit was escorted into the village by beautifully clad Zulu dancers. They were treated to a Zulu dance; music from the SOS FSP (family strengthening programme) choir; and an ’I believe I can’ dance by SOS children, which is also the theme for the village. They also heard about the work SOS Children’s Village and the FSP are doing in the community.



“I have always wanted to experience one of these villages,” said Atiba Hutchinson. “It’s beautiful. I think the children are very happy and well cared.”



“I am a big soccer fan and I hoped this day would come off whereby the Canadian soccer team visit the SOS Children’s Village,” said Marc Labrom, second secretary (political) from the Canadian High Commission. “We (the Commission) have provided new t-shirts/kits for the SOS village soccer team; and the soccer balls are from the Canadian team. The Canadian team also bought toys for the younger children.”



After a tour of the village and a look into one of the family houses the much anticipated match between the Canadians and SOS soccer team was underway. Both teams had a fun soccer match and drew 1:1 to the delight of the spectators.



“We have been looking forward to the visit and the chance to play soccer against some SOS soccer talent,” said Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell.



While Canadian defender Michael Klukowski was hoping to garner some SOS children’s support for their game against the South African national team Bafana Bafana in their friendly game on Tuesday 20 November, the SOS children were firm in their support of their own national team.



Said 11-year old Siyabonga, “no Canada will not win. Bafana is my favourite team. They will win.” Echoed 13-year old Cebong, “the Canadians are going to lose against Bafana Bafana. My favourite player is Sibusiso Zuma and he will score.”



The spirit of the Canadian team was high when they left and everyone agreed the village and children had left a good impression on their hearts. The children loved seeing some “famous” soccer players and vied for their autographs. When the team left some players even took off their kit T-shirts, signed and gave them to the joyous children.



Said 12-year old Lindebuhle, “it was a nice visit which was great fun. Normally on a Sunday we go to church and then just play so this day it was nice to meet the Canadian players and watch a soccer game.”



“The atmosphere was wonderful,” said village director Maphanga. “I can’t imagine what it would be like if the stadium were full! The Canadian team will always be remembered in the minds of our children whenever they watch them play. From now on it will be like: ’There’s our team’. We hope to see them all again in 2010 at the village.”

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