Alexandra police do battle with local boys in soccer tournament

Date: 15 Nov 2007
Twenty-year-old Thapelo Gift Keteyi is over the moon - he has just been named the best football player of the One Pal Street Soccer Tournament. The two month-long tournament, organised by the Alexandra Community Policing Forum (CPF) and sponsored by The Star, came to an end recently and resulted in the formation of a new 20-member youth team for the CPF. Thomas Sithole, CPF spokesperson and organiser of the tournament, said forming the youth team was part of the fight against crime. "We tried to mobilise these young men who were playing soccer in the streets. "This has had a huge impact on the visibility of the police as well. We want these youngsters to be positive role models for the community. To show other young men that crime doesn't pay." And apart from becoming role-models, the 20 young men have also being awarded a computer course. For being the best player, Keteyi has received a R10 000 bursary from Boston City Campus and Business College. "This will help me a lot. I feel like I'm on top of the world to be picked out as the best player out of 480 guys. "This gives me the opportunity to take a management course that will support my future. "And I do believe that we have to take part in the fight against crime and be positive role-models." But 19-year-old Ndumiso Nsibande says he doesn't want to be a role model. "I just want to play soccer." During the last match of the day, the best team from the township squared up against a police team, while a group of girls braved the hot sun and sang their lungs out to support their teams. Most of the kids that came to watch the match are part of the Alexandra SAPS junior cadet programme. Irene Lebepe (18), the president of the cadets, was very pleased about the tournament. "It's difficult to stop crime around here. Every weekend somebody gets raped or shot. But we can make a difference. "Our group of cadets consists of 35 people, but only four of them are boys. "That's why this tournament is such a good project. The problem is that most boys didn't want to be associated with the police. "Luckily they do like the sport of soccer." The police won the match 5-0. For Sergeant G Mdluli, of the Alex police, it was a very good game. "It's good that we play against each other. "The police and the community have to work together as one in the fight against crime. This helps take away the fear of the police," he said. By Paola Verouden The Star 15/11/07e1