Grassroot Soccer (GRS), FIFA, and streetfootballworld are pleased to announce the opening of the Alexandra Football for Hope Centre in Johannesburg on 12 November.  The centre will be managed by Grassroot Soccer and will provide education and public health services to Alexandra, particularly to its young people. It will be a vibrant and sustainable development hub and serve as an effective platform for driving positive change in the community.

Alexandra FFHC ribbon cutting

The Alexandra FFHC is officially opened! From left to right: Vladimir Borkovic, CEO of streetfootballworld; Fikile Mbalula, South Africa Minister for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation; Danny Jordaan, President of South Africa Football Association; James Donald, Managing Director GRS SA; Carolin Stahler Yingli, FIFA Global Manager for Events and Marketing, Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, Patrik Thumiger, Senior Manager Sony South Africa; Sikhumbuzo Mnculwane, GRS Alexandra Site Coordinator.

The centre is the sixteenth to open as part of FIFA’s ‘20 Centres for 2010‘ campaign which, in partnership with streetfootballworld, aims to create 20 Football for Hope Centres to promote public health, education, and football for young people in disadvantaged communities across Africa.

Grassroot Soccer South Africa will serve as the Centre Host in the Alexandra Football for Hope Centre (FFHC). GRS is a nonprofit organization that was founded by former professional soccer players in Zimbabwe in 2002. A leader in sport-for-development, GRS uses the power of soccer to engage youth in high quality, evidence-based life skills and HIV prevention programming across Africa. Through a series of interactive activities and discussions, young people gain a comprehensive knowledge of HIV and AIDS and have an opportunity to practise the skills necessary for sustainable behaviour change. By capitalizing on the sport’s popularity and the power of play, GRS has engaged over 610,000 youth worldwide to date. Grassroot Soccer South Africa is a South-Africa based organization that works exclusively in country.

Alexandra FFHC soccer match

Local athletes hit the pitch on opening day of the new Centre.

Grassroot Soccer has been operating in Alexandra since 2011, with programmes led by 32 GRS Coaches (health educators and role models) from the area. It is truly a local organization and will be the driving force behind the impact of the Alexandra FFHC. From the Centre, GRS will deliver its innovative programmes and services to its main beneficiaries: young members of the Alexandra community. GRS presently operates the Khayelitsha FFHC in Cape Town and will soon host an FFHC in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, which is currently under construction.

The opening ceremony celebrated the launch of the Alexandra FFHC with Junior soccer matches, cultural performances, an Official Opening Ceremony and tour of the Centre, and a selection of Grassroot Soccer’s interactive life skills activities on the new pitch. Once open, GRS will manage the day-to-day operations of the FFHC and use the site to continue to help young people engage in relevant and important discussions about life, be resilient when faced with challenges, and protect themselves and others from HIV and AIDS.

The Centre includes a soccer pitch, meeting spaces, computer labs, a film editing room, counseling space, and offices, along with a kitchen and restrooms. Yingli Green Energy, an official partner of FIFA, provided PV modules for the solar street lighting system, which means the Centre will be accessible for increased hours and be able to offer evening programming as well.

You can view a quick tour of the inside of the new Centre here.