|Democratic Republic of Congo – Salesian Games 2013|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo – Sports Festival for the 100 years of Salesian presence|
(ANS – Lubumbashi) – Last weekend, at the “Cité des Jeunes” centre of Lubumbashi, the first competitions of the Salesian Games tournament took place. This event, repeated also this year, has attracted a large participation and aroused much enthusiasm among the young contenders. The Salesian Games, which will be concluded in the next few days, mark a symbolic beginning to the next 100 years of Salesian history in the country.
Many boys and girls, from different parishes and oratories, have applied to enter the football tournament, which is central to the event. The improvement in skills and equipment of the various teams is also significant: “It is easy today to find a youth team well equipped with shirts, shoes and socks in good condition, while it is unusual now to find anyone playing barefoot”- reports Fr. Jean Marc-Marie Ngoie Kabondo . – In fact many have some of the finest team kits from European and African clubs.
Following the programme adopted in previous years, the calendar of the games provided last weekend for competitions between youngsters from parishes and oratories, while next weekend it will be the turn of youngsters from Salesian schools, other Catholic schools, or just schools in harmony with the Salesian spirit. The best teams in the two goups (parish/oratory and schools) will move on the semifinals programmed for May 1st.
In the afternoon of Saturday 21 April, after subdividing the participants into various categories according to size and sex , the games began on several pitches at the same time, given the large numbers. The competitions continued on Sunday morning, April 22, straight after the celebration of Mass. During the day there were other competitions and games involving many children, such as a great treasure hunt in the courtyard of the centre.
In the boys’ tournaments a great improvement in skills could be seen, which makes the Salesian games into an alternative to the football academies of local clubs.
But the main thing which has struck the organizers remains the great happiness of the young participants: the happiness of getting to know other youngsters, of enjoying the activities, of striving to win – or simply of taking part and defending the colours of one’s own parish, oratory or school.