By Ra-ees Moerat
Despite overwhelming socio-economic difficulties on the Cape Flats, sports seems to be the one passion that drives many youth, particularly a group of youngsters from Manenberg. Completely unprepared and with only socks and flip-flops, Team Phoenix managed to dominate VOC’s Mini Olympics at the annual VOC Summer Festival.
The fun sports tournament was one of the main attractions and a new event at the festival. Participants included groups, which consisted of teams made up of families, friends and some work colleagues.
Those who participated did so with great enthusiasm, as they competed against one another for some of the amazing prizes, which included a luxurious weekend away to Goudini Spar.
Moreover, the runners-up also walked away with amazing prizes ranging from food vouchers, scarves, sweet treats and so much more!
At the end there could only be one winning group, that being team Phoenix from Manenberg.
Phoenix High sports teacher and coach at Stepping Stone, Athmi Hendricks says, since he first heard the ad for the Mini Olympics on VOC, he wanted to enter his team from Phoenix High.
“These boys have been so good in athletics so we registered the team on the day. It came as a big surprise to me when we won,” he says.
Hendricks mentions that for the team to have maintained the top position throughout the competition, he selected the top six best athletes in the group.
“The fact that the team never lost a soccer game in the past few years, motivated them to win the Mini Olympics,” he says.
“I took a lot of pictures and sent it to all my friends in Australia and those who are on Umrah too,” he added.
Despite the challenges of crime, gangsterism and drug abuse in Manenberg, Hendricks remains positive that he can bring a change through the use of sporting activities in the area.
“Thirty-five of the kids that I work with are gang members, but they have since changed. I just need to change at least one kid per month and then I’ve achieved my goal,” he says.
The winning team consisted of Thaakir Karriem, Chad Johnson, Shadley Moosa, Janeiro Morris, Mas-ood Adam and Breyton Jacobs.
Hendricks says that the boys were completely overwhelmed when they received the prize.
“I took the prize to the principal of the school. He too was overwhelmed and delivered thanks to VOC – and congratulated the station with a job well done,” he says. VOC