African Movement Congress

Durban: Football’s Phoenix rising from historic ashes with new championship.

The Phoenix Football Association, an affiliate of the FIFA-linked South Africa Football Association, has launched the inaugural championship for the township’s youth to put their best foot forward and start taking the world’s beautiful game seriously. The event drew 200 participants – including boys and girls – team officials, coaches and veteran former professional footballers at the Shree Mariammen Temple’s Mount Edgecombe Arts and Cultural Hall, Mount Edgcombe-Phoenix, last Saturday. “We have scored an hat-trick by hosting the launch, draw and securing the support of local business personalities in our main speaker Roy Moodley, who has pledged to ensure soccer receives support in promoting the game among our youth, especially the girl-child and women,” beamed Charmaine Reddy, executive member of the SAFA Phoenix FA. 

Moodley, leading businessman in the security industry, racehorse owner and breeder and presidential candidate of the newly-launched African Movement Congress (AMC), said his party would include a sports and recreation portfolio to encourage families and residents to promote the game that was historically promoted, organized and linked to the country’s Indian-origin communities across South Africa – particularly in Phoenix, Chatsworth and other inner-city areas. He said he was impressed that first championship would feature junior and senior primary schoolchildren – boys and girls – in the 6-19 age range to include three women’s teams: Moodley urged players and officials to take the gap of the limitless opportunities on local, national and provincial levels and the upcoming championship should reignite the passion for the game, especially popular in the early history of Phoenix as a giant spatially zoned township for Indians, who were uprooted from established communities with sports facilities: “We love the beautiful game and sports promotion is integral to our rescue of the economy overarching theme in these upcoming polls. This is just the big kick off and we will promote sports among our youth.” “We at the SAFA Phoenix were richly honoured with the esteemed presence of our community stalwart Roy Moodley who has provided leadership and direction as to how he could take us on a chapter of football that will benefit our girls and women and give them a new lease of opportunities to change their lifestyles for the better. 

We now stand to benefit from a man who is always surrounded by winning people, and as well as prized-winning horses and jockeys,” said Reddy. A total of 300 players in 15 teams will compete in the tournament on Saturday, 4 May, leading up to the cup final on Saturday, 25 May, at the Eastbury Grounds. The event was enhanced by the presence of football fundi Cyril Deva, once a goalscoring, striking centre-forward with the neighbouring Verulam Suburbs Football Club, famously known as the “Sugartown Boys” in the Federation Professional Soccer League at Durban’s Currie’s Fountain. The team, founded by businessman Balu Parekh featured leading footballers and was succeeded by Tongaat Crusaders in the professional ranks at the Watson Park Stadium.

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