Bolloré Logistics South Africa, in its partnership with Boots for Africa, handed over 700 pairs of second hand boots to 34 schools and soccer academies in Greenfields, Ekurhuleni on Saturday 10th March 2018. Bolloré Logistics sponsored the transport and logistics requirements of the Boots for Africa initiative and the event was facilitated by soccer star Teboho Mokoena and his foundation, Teboho Mokoena Sports and Development Foundation along with Gavin Hendry and his organisation, Ready to Send.
Boots for Africa is the brainchild of English Premier League club, Sheffield FC’s Chairman, Richard Tims. The initiative started in 2009, to coinicide with the first FIFA World Cup on African soil in South Africa, aiming to support grassroots sports development on the African continent. Its success has seen the initiative grow globally, now known as Boots for Roots.
“We are very excited to be part of an initiative that supports grassroots development in sport in South Africa. Boots for Africa exemplifes the compassion and passion of the sports fraternity, and emphasises how sport unites across borders. We are enamoured with the possibilities this initiative affords our next generation of sportspeople, and we are glad that in our own way, we contribute to fulfilling their dreams,” said Mark Thompson, Gauteng Regional Director at Bolloré Logistics.
“For us at Bolloré, this is another expression of our commitment to our economy and local community development. Sport has a multiplier effect, and much like travel and logistics, it feeds into and off many other industries. So we really see our involvement here as a worthwhile investment in our economy in South Africa,” concluded Thompson.
Bolloré Logistics stored the shipment of the boots at the Durban port and facilitated all the customs logistics, and then transported the boots to Johannesburg, where they were stored in a warehouse until the handover on Saturday.
Over and above the 700 pairs of second hand soccer boots, an additional 115 pairs of rugby boots and 70 pairs of running shoes will be donated to schools and academies over the next few weeks. This is the third shipment that Boots for Africa has received to date. The boots and shoes were sourced by Sarah Gardner of Boots for Africa Australia, who was instrumental in sourcing the second shipment of 2,000 boots in 2014. The boots in 2014 were donated to Edenpark Football Association and the Football Association of Southern Africa in Gansbaai. The first shipment was in 2012, with over 250 pairs of new and second hand boots from Sheffield FC, and they were donated to Greenstars FC in Greenfields, Ekurhuleni.
Boots for Africa’s operations in South Africa have been handled by Ready to Send since 2011. Speaking on the handover, Hendry who is the founder of Ready to Send, said: “It all started when I volunteered to coach Greenfields FC’s under 10 development team. The kids were so talented and committed, but were playing in school shoes, trainers, socks and some were even barefoot. Reaching out to Boots for Africa enabled them to experience the thrill of playing the game they love in their very own pair of boots. I am pleased that Boots for Africa continues to support these young hopefuls. It means a lot to them.”
Speaking about Boots for Africa, Ex FIFA President Sepp Blatter, says, “The Boots for Africa campaign is a fantastic initiative and one we applaud at FIFA as it continues our aims of ensuring football is made available to all and helping to build a better future.”
Post this event, the rugby boots will be handed over on a separate day to the Soweto Rugby Club and the running shoes will be handed over to a running club in Alberton.