Nelson Mandela Bay will celebrate its status as a 2010 host city this Easter with an action-packed five-a-side beach soccer tournament at the MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival.
The event’s focus on soccer forms part of the municipality’s strategy to create a soccer culture across all demographics, says councillor Mike Kwenaite. “We wanted to ‘soccerise’ the festival to create interest in and exposure for the upcoming World Cup.”
Doug Pudney from Frontier Events, who is organising the tournament, says it is open to club, high school and U/14 teams. He says the event will be played according to Fifa’s official five-a-side rules.
Pudney says the qualifiers and the group stages will be played at King’s Beach on Saturday, April 11, and the knockout portion at Hobie Beach the following day.
According to him, the total number of entrants will be whittled down to 32 in each category for the knockout rounds.
To add an international flavour, each team will assume the name (by means of a draw) of one of the World Cup playing nations, says Pudney, “for example Lungisa High School Nigeria”.
He says this will add excitement to the tournament, while educating people about the World Cup’s make-up.
Squads will consist of seven players with five allowed on the “field” at any given time. All matches will be played on giant custom-made inflatable fields.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s 2010 World Cup Soccer Directorate executive director and mastermind behind the concept, Errol Heyns, says soccer is a universal language and that both MTN and the directorate speak it extremely well.
Ntombizodwa Mhangwani, MTN’s senior brand leverage manager for 2010, says apart from Splash being one of the largest watersport festivals on the continent, the tournament was a major draw card for them, “especially with its emphasis on development”.
“Our involvement highlights our commitment to local football development, the 2010 Fifa World Cup and our pride in being the first and only global African sponsor.”
Daron Mann from Algoa FM will be the master of ceremonies and Lwazi Gobane of Frontier Events is the tournament director.
For more information, visit www.splashfestival.com or phone the festival office on 041 393 4844.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival