SEVEN Bulawayo schools will compete at the Grassroots Soccer Zimbabwe Voluntary Counselling and Testing tournament at Nketa Grounds on Saturday.
Mncumbata, Sobukhazi, Mzilikazi and Nkulumane will battle it out in the girls’ category, while Ihlathi, Emganwini and Northlea will compete in the boys’ category.
Grassroots Soccer Zimbabwe communications officer Nompumelelo Bhebhe said they are using the tournament to create awareness for HIV/Aids.
“Nketa grounds will be buzzing with activity as Grassroots Soccer Zimbabwe will be reaching out to the young and the old to help stop the spread of HIV. Through this initiative, we aim to contribute in overcoming great health challenges in communities and helping adolescents live healthier, more productive lives, while being agents for change in their communities,” said Bhebhe.
“This is achieved through connecting these young people to mentors who educate them on sexual health and health services, gender-based violence and making educated choices about pressing health challenges. Soccer dynamic lessons are incorporated so as to keep these young people engaged.
By using a soccer-based structure and curriculum, our volunteers (Skillz Coaches) build trust, engage youth in activity-based learning, and create safe spaces where young people feel comfortable asking questions, sharing opinions, and supporting their teammates.
Importantly, soccer is fun, and the programmes create an environment where learning is not a spectator sport. The power of soccer is used to build confidence and resilience in young people so that they can take control of their lives and health, on and off the field.”
She said some organisations they had partnered to make the day worthwhile include the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, Matabeleland Aids Council and Richabites, an organisation that will educate the community on drug and alcohol abuse.