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UK soccer tour goes nowhere

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UK soccer tour goes nowhere

by Brian Gaffney
06 Feb 2008
The Peoples Post
The Peoples Post

A SCHOOL soccer tour to England went horribly wrong when it was aborted in Johannesburg during the December holidays.

The Heathfield Senior Secondary School in the southern suburbs ordered the tour be stopped after learning that a former teacher, who had organised the overseas trip, had misinformed them about tour arrangements.

The school's principal, Derick Moore, yesterday broke his silence on the matter that has angered the school as well as parents and their teenage learners, whose dreams of playing soccer in England were shattered.

Moore confirms Alfredo Alfreds, who completed a one year teaching contract at the school in December 2007, was in charge of arrangements for the 12 day tour.

At an urgent meeting after the tour group was told to return home from Johannesburg on 11 December, Alfreds committed himself to "sorting out problems surrounding the tour" with the school's governing body, parents and three other tour management members.

The main concern of the players and management team was that they should be compensated for the R12 000 they had each raised to cover air fare and accommodation costs in England.

Moore says Alfreds has thus far not come forward to assist the governing body on the matter.

"The school has sought legal advice and it is in the process of investigating all aspects of the tour."

He says the tour group was forced to return to Cape Town from Johannesburg when it became clear no accommodation and travel arrangements in England had been finalised.

Some of the school boys were not in possession of visas, but nevertheless expected to obtain their visas in Johannesburg. Their visas were, however, not issued during the tour group's three day stay in Johannesburg in December.

Alfreds, in pre-tour interviews with local newspapers and radio stations, claimed the tour itinerary included matches with youth teams in London, Manchester and Newcastle.

He said he was hopeful that some of his players would impress soccer scouts and that they could be offered trials with some of the top English Football Association clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Moore says he and his school's governing body "regret the inconvenience and disappointment experienced by all concerned".

Alfreds failed to respond to several voice messages left on his cellphone over the past fortnight.

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