American do-gooder puts a stop to breaking of balls

10 June 2010 - 01:44

American philanthropist Bobby Sager and his family arrived in South Africa this week to celebrate the World Cup - and hand out thousands of indestructible soccer balls to disadvantaged children.

Sager, a close friend of UK musician Sting, is to distribute 10000 unbreakable balls in Africa. The first batch was handed out in Khayelitsha, outside Cape Town, this week.

Ten years ago, Sager was the president of multimillion-dollar asset management firm the Gordon Brothers Group when he founded the Sager Family Travelling Foundation and Roadshow.

Since then, he, his wife and two children have travelled to remote villages and cities in developing countries to lend a hand.

"What we see while travelling are kids that have soccer balls that have been punctured or which they have made themselves basically out of a bundle of rags and rubbish tied together," he said.

"A ball that couldn't be broken would essentially be a symbol of something in their lives. Everything they touch seems to crumble and here's something that wouldn't let them down. It's something they could actually rely on."

The ball, developed by scientists, is a shell cavity and does not inflate.

''It's something we believe is truly indestructible. You can put a knife through or even drive a car over it," Sager said.

Soccer played an important role in Africa, helping charities teach life skills through sport, he said.

The staging of the World Cup in South Africa was an opportunity to show the world "how wonderful this place is and how unique and special the people in South Africa are", he said.