Soccer, life skills in quest for greatness

The combination of soccer sessions and life skill lessons unlocks the potential of young women and encourage them to aspire to greatness.

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Over the past 10 weeks, a programme doing exactly this by Volkswagen, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, successfully concluded the VW Train 4 Life 2023 initiative in Thembisa, Gauteng.

It has provided support to more than 7 125 Grade 8 female learners from various schools in Thembisa. The VW Train 4 Life initiative features an U15 girls' soccer tournament and a comprehensive life skills programme designed to empower and upskill Grade 8 female learners.

Maputha Secondary School claimed the title of 2023 champions of the VW Train 4 Life soccer tournament.

"We are proud to witness the impact that VW Train 4 Life has had on these young women. Beyond just a game of soccer or a lecture, this initiative has equipped them with the tools, skills and inspiration they need to dream big and realise their ambitions,” said Steffen Knapp, Head of the Volkswagen Passenger Car Brand.

The VW Train 4 Life U15 Girls soccer tournament showcased the talents of 140 girls from 10 secondary schools. A total of 31 matches were played, resulting in an impressive 57 goals scored in over 1 240 minutes of play. The tournament culminated in a final event held recently at Rabie Ridge Stadium in Midrand.

Volkswagen would like to congratulate Maputha Secondary School for proudly claiming the title of 2023 champions of the VW Train 4 Life soccer tournament. In recognition of their victory, they have been awarded soccer training kits and equipment for their school.

Girls did not only play soccer, but also learned life skills.

The initiative also prioritises the development of life skills in these young learners. The programme featured various engaging sessions, including road safety workshops conducted by the VW Advanced Driving Team, self-defence courses, discussions on female hygiene and menstruation and a motivational talk by Zanele Nhlapho, a born and bred Thembisa resident and soccer star who has been delivering inspiring speeches at all the participating schools.

Reflecting on the significance of this initiative, Zanele remarked: "I am honoured to be a part of the VW Train 4 Life initiative and to witness the profound impact it has on these young girls' lives. The initiative goes beyond teaching soccer skills; it instils confidence, resilience and determination in these girls, empowering them to dream bigger and reach for their goals.”

VW's Train 4 Life initiative is also supported by esteemed ambassadors, Simphiwe Dludlu (former Banyana Banyana captain and decorated coach) and Desiree Ellis (current South African National Women's Team Coach).

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