WHEN logistics specialist PSP heard football-crazy youngsters in South Africa had so much difficulty finding boots they had to substitute players based on shoe size, it had to act.
The Segensworth company, which sponsors Denmead FC under-12s, collected 73 pairs of spare and unwanted boots from the players and from the club’s stores.
Darron Strange, PSP’s financial director, found out about Cape Town’s Golden United and their footwear problem while he was in the country on both a trade mission and to support the PSP boat taking part in the Clipper Round the World race.
He also coaches the Denmead team, so was in a unique position to help.
Darron said: ‘They are trying to give the kids something to do to keep them off the streets and drugs and crime but the lack of equipment really hampers their ability to give them a game.
‘They told me that, when it comes to substitutions, they have to factor in a player’s shoe size because they have to share boots.
‘We support young people’s football here in the UK and I thought “there’s something we can do here”.
‘I know we have spare boots at Denmead FC, while PSP is able to ship anything anywhere around the globe, so it is a genuine opportunity to make a difference.
‘I’m so proud of the young lads at Denmead FC who really got behind this idea, painstakingly went through the stores and collected all the boots and then cleaned many of them. It is one thing to feel sorry for people and another to do something about it.
‘So, well done to the lads and everyone else who donated after being touched by the plight of some boys who just want to play football.’
The boots are now in a container beginning a 6,000-mile journey by sea to Cape Town.
They will be a shoe-in for a welcome reception at Cape Town’s Golden United, with the club’s teams of six to 17-year-olds struggling to find enough football kit and boots to field a side.
Shereen Bruyns, of Golden United, said: ‘It finally looks like our children are not going to look like underdogs in the league any more. From the bottom of our hearts here in Cape Town to everyone involved, thanks a million.’