Cape Town: Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of soccer reiterated their support of the docu-drama, More Than Just A Game at a press conference at the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island in Cape Town this evening. More Than Just A Game tells the dramatic and inspiring story of organised soccer played among prisoners on Robben Island from 1966 to the mid 1970’s.
Participating at the press conference were producer, Anant Singh; director, Junaid Ahmed, former Robben Islanders involved in the soccer league, CEO of SA 2010 Local Organising Committee, Danny Jordaan and Jerome Champagne, delegate of FIFA president, Dr Joseph S. Blatter.
More Than Just A Game is told through the stories of five former prisoners:
Mark Shinners, Anthony Suze, Lizo Sitoto, Sedick Isaacs and Marcus Solomon (all of whom were at the press conference). The film tells the story of how political activists sent to Robben Island in the 1960s rise above their incarceration by creating a football league, the Makana Football Association, and find an outlet for their passion and commitment to discipline through soccer.
FIFA’s Jerome Champagne speaking at the press conference said, “It was in 2003 / 2004 that (Sports Historian), Chuck Korr, came to FIFA headquarters and said that he had discovered an amazing piece, not only on soccer but also about mind chemistry. I could not believe what I heard, and FIFA immediately decided to support it, because your history and the history of soccer on Robben Island is not only a reflection of the history of your country but in particular it is a reflection of the role that football played in the history your country.”
Producer, Anant Singh said, “We at Videovision Entertainment are thrilled to be bringing this amazing story to the big screen. It has relevance not only to people in South Africa, but to people around the world. I felt that there was potential for a film because it was a story about human beings trying to succeed against all odds and to survive using soccer as their inspiration, which in everybody else’s terms was very simple. More Than Just A Game is a tribute to the people on the Island that fought for the privilege to play soccer.”
CEO of SA 2010 Local Organising Committee, Danny Jordaan commented, “The movie tells the story of Robben Island and this country, of hopes crushed and hopes renewed and a determination to pursue what is right and just and never to surrender. Even in the pursuit of getting permission for the right to play football, football clearly represented a renewal of energy, excitement and all those things that kept hope alive, so when we celebrate tomorrow, we celebrate the spirit of Robben Island.”
More Than Just A Game is a Videovision Entertainment production in association with Telkom Media and Distant Horizon, with script development supported by the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa (NFVF). It is executive produced by Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh and produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring with Chuck Korr, Lord Ted Rowlands, David Crowe and Hannelie Bekker co-producing. The screenplay is by Tom Eaton and it is directed by Junaid Ahmed.