It is a huge honour to be shirt sponsors of the amazing Kusasa Stars at this month’s Gothia Cup in Sweden.
The Gothia Cup is the world’s largest and most international youth football tournament. Each year, around 1700 teams from 80 nations take part playing 4500 games on 110 pitches. Except, of course, for the last two years…
The Kusasa Stars is no ordinary youth team. The young people who take part live in the disadvantaged South African township of Groendal and, a few years ago, would have had no hope of being able to take part in a tournament like the Gothia Cup.
The club was set up with the aim of using football to help underprivileged children find a better hope of a future away from alcohol and crime – the stories some of the youngsters tell are terrible to hear.
Football is now being used to promote education and life skills and offer the chance for a life-changing experience – playing at the largest football tournament in the world!
The Gothia Cup is more than just a football tournament for the Kusasa Stars – it’s a framework which encourages attitude, school attendance, and individual grade advancement as well as sporting achievement – with playing in the cup as the ultimate life-changing experience.
They are able to make friends with children from different countries, giving them a global sense of belonging and opening up their minds and aspirations to the world beyond their own environment. They learn that nothing is impossible if they work hard.
This year the Kusasa Stars took a team of 12 boys and 12 girls aged between 15-16 years. They started off on the island of Roro for team building pre-tournament camp before travelling by boat to Gothenburg.
The Under 15 Boys team played 6 matches and the Under 14 Girls team played 5. They didn’t get to the finals this year but won a huge amount of respect and fans along the way. We’re really proud of them!
They’ve still got bills to pay, so it’s not quite over yet!
International Platforms is one of several sponsors that help the teams get to Sweden. We loved seeing our logo on their shirts!
Each year the Gothia Cup gives them free entry to the tournament, but money still needs to be found for training, flights, three week’s accommodation and food and, of course all their kit.
It was very disappointing not to have been able to take the teams to Sweden during Covid and the teams turned their efforts into fundraising to buy face masks. We are so thankful the people in the overcrowded township they live in were not as badly affected as some other areas – it could have been much worse.