Zimbabwe to participate in soccer peace tournament

footballJOHANNESBURG Zimbabwe is one of 16 countries that will participate in a soccer peace tournament organised by a regional church organisation and slated for next month.

Organised by the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, the Soccer Peace Tournament, will be held in Atteridgeville, in Pretoria simultaneously with the 2010 FIFA World Cup during the months of June and July 2010.

The aim is to bring together fans of different social classes, different ethnicities, and national origins as well as fans from all over the world, said Martin Mande, a spokesperson for the tournament organisers.

This football Peace Tournament has an international dimension. Sixty-four players from about 15 countries will play every Saturday at 9.00 am from June 5 to July 3 in the poorest part of the township, on a locally designed football pitch. Four teams will be created out of the two best teams of Atteridgeville and migrants living in South Africa and fans coming for the World Cup. The final will take place on July 3.

He added that the tournaments objective was to seize the FIFA World Cups opportunity to spread the values that African societies need.

These are values that the Church does not cease to advocate: charity, dialogue with other religions and cultures, justice, solidarity, fraternity, non-violence, added Mande.

Sport is a recognised instrument for promoting these values, as it disregards both geographical borders and social classes. It also plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. Problems in post conflict situations can be eased as sport has the ability to bring people together.

The organisers said that they are currently working in grassroots communities to build multi-ethnic, multi-faith and community-based peace groups through Africa with the aim of creating relationships within groups and between individuals who understand the importance of non-violence, empowerment and youth education.

Countries expected to participate at the Peace Cup include : South Africa, Congolese of DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, France, Portugal, Turkey, America, Italy, Mexico, Tanzania, Angola and Zimbabwe

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