Children from the iTemba Labantu Centre in Philippi are overwhelmed after soccer legend Philipp Lahm, the former Germany and Bayern Munich captain, opened a world class sports ground in the area.
It took 12 years to complete. Part of the struggle related to the fact that the land was a water detention pond, assisting in the drainage from the surrounding informal settlement.
Fortunately the architect, Luyanda Mpahlwa, designed it in such a way that the special heavy-duty astroturf could handle heavy rainfall, while the field is fringed by a drainage system to prevent flooding in the area during downpours.
The R14 million project funded by the German based NGO Philipp Lahm Foundation also offers state of the art equipment which the more than 400 kids can use on a daily basis.
The Director of the Centre Otto Kohlstock says Lahm attended in person to open the sports ground on Saturday which was a glorious occassion.
The Philippi-based community now boasts the sports facility, in addition to its existing soup kitchen, pre-school and youth training centre, helping to improve the lives of the poverty-stricken children in the area.