“Sport is friendship;
Sport is health,
Sport is education,
Sport is life,
Sport brings the world together.”
Juan Antonio Samaranch
These famous words were once again brought to life on 12th of June 2018 when ex-proffesional footballer and conservationist Gordon Gilbert partnered with the Legend African Foundation on a soccer clinic at Kaalleegte Primary. Having an actual football star present in the Sterkrivier district of Limpopo is a sight not often seen (if ever) and it was evident on the faces of teachers and learners who could simply not get enough of the soccer wisdom imparted by Gordon.
This specific soccer clinic was not the typical clinic, seeing that not only Gordon and the team from the Legend African Foundation were present but also a tour group consisting of Americans, British and Chinese on their very first visit to South Africa. They had the opportunity to witness first hand why soccer is classified as a religion in South Africa and also why raising awareness on conservation in the local communities are vital. One tourist explained “I was so impressed by the passion and discipline in which the soccer clinics were presented by Gordon”, while another commented “I am not quite sure how the children were able to understand this Scotsman but he certainly has a way of getting the conservation message across.”
An initiative such as this brings hope to a community and makes a dream feel more real than ever before. Obviously the end goal is for children to improve their soccer skills and become aware of the importance of their natural heritage. But for now, until this is achieved, Gordon is doing something far greater – he is showing a community how to overcome circumstance, become self-confident and how to dream wilder, bigger dreams. He is building a brighter Africa, one soccer clinic at a time.