The Engen Knockout Challenge which starts today has been touted as an opportunity to bridge the unemployment gap for young people.
Engen’s Brand and Sponsorship Manager, Bulela Mkandawire says South Africa’s high youth unemployment means young people need as much support and encouragement as possible.
In what is regarded as one of the most prestigious youth football tournaments in the country, the EKOC has since inception in 2003 provided many aspiring professional football players with a stage to showcase their skills to a wide audience.
More than 150 players have been snapped up by professional clubs during this time, many going on to play for Bafana Bafana.
“The EKOC is far more than just a soccer tournament as it helps our female and male youth stay motivated and ensures they develop the skills to create and take advantage of opportunities where possible,” argued Mkandawire.
With the Covid-19 pandemic amplifying the harsh socio-economic realities faced by many South Africans, amongst the many hardships is the lack of adequate recreational facilities in lower income areas.
“At Engen we understand the impact of not harnessing the energy of young people in productive and engaged ways, which is something that can have long term consequences for families, communities and the country.
“The EKOC is therefore our way of giving back and playing our part to empower, support and engage young people productively and meaningfully,” Mkandawire added.
With the Durban legs set to kick off on Heritage Day, Engen is proud to host an initiative that serves a sport that is a vehicle for pride, patriotism and social cohesion.
“Soccer is not just a sport, it is also a powerful development tool, social connector, and part of a collective DNA which unites South Africans across race and class.” concluded Mkandawire.
By Wonga Sirayi
FARPost’s KZN Reporter