WITH South Africa commemorating Youth Month, the Big Shoe Cup provided the perfect launching pad for the historic week activities with the international youth tournament, the Big Shoe Cup, being revealed at Johannesburg Stadium, on Monday, 11 June.
Through the partnership between TMT Sports Group, Big Smile Foundation, and corporate sponsors, White Star Super Maize Meal, the inaugural event – set to be played in Soweto on 21 July – will not only promote sports participation but also raise awareness and funds for children with facial deformities syndrome.
South African legends, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba and Brian “Spiderman” Baloyi, as well as South African Football Coaches Association Head of High Performance Sudesh Singh, will also serve as tournament ambassadors.
There is also combined support from the two public sectors in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan and the Gauteng Provincial Government through MEC and football fanatic, Panyaza Lesufi.
“I can start off by thanking the great media, public and the different government sphere support with this critical initiative for our youth,” said TMT Sports Group co-founder, Mirriam Ngomani.
“I have also been touched by the facial deformities syndrome on children ever since I got to know about it, and there is no other perfect platform than football to raise awareness and to raise funds for it for our underprivileged communities.”
Big Shoe Chief Executive, Dr. Igor Wentzel, further added: “Our goal is to help children with our BigShoe11 program where part of our past initiative was to have 11 international stars pay surgical costs for 11 needy children, including the likes of Paul Pogba and Mesut Ozil. We are looking at having this continue here in South Africa and grow from strength to strength.”
In acknowledging provincial support, Lesufi said: “We have always maintained that education and sports should continue to play a leading role in our communities…I have followed the Big Shoe Cup concept and hope that it will garner the interest and respect it deserves in our shores.”
With the format of the tournament, all eleven teams will play at the Braamfischer Multi-Purpose Sports Grounds, with 122 youngsters aged between 10 and 12 years.
“I maintain that we have a young talent that should be seen and developed. I am happy that the Big Shoe Cup will provide this much needed platform. People forget that it is tournaments of this nature where the likes of Big Shoe Brand Ambassador Brian Baloyi, the Thabo Mookis and the Wiseman Meyiwas were spotted from,” said Mashaba, the former Orlando Pirates captain and Bafana Bafana coach.