Ranger Appreciation and Rhino Awareness
The Mpumalanga Black Aces PSL Soccer Club was sold to new owners in June 2016, terminating our project.
We would like to thank previous owners Mario and George Morfou, as well as the players, for their donation of R50 000.00.
These funds will be utilised towards soccer programmes for the rangers in the Kruger National Park.
Mpumalanga Black Aces FC launched ACE, a youthful rhino mascot in collaboration with StopRhinoPoaching.com and SANPARKS in a 1st for local football joining with Conservation.
For the first time in South Africa, Football joins hands with Conservation. Whilst its been said that Rhino poaching and conservation are for the concern of the elite, this is a critical time for all South Africans to take note.
It is time to educate ALL South Africans that Rhino poaching is not just about the animal, but about so many other socio-econmic factors that are affected by the potential extinction of this dignified member of the Big 5.
Mpumalanga-based PSL football club, Mpumalanga Black Aces, deeply concerned about their supporters and the communities they serve, sought to find a solution to drive the rhino conservation agenda.
“As South Africans, Ubuntu is our biggest motivator. Having enjoyed years of support from our communities in Mpumalanga, we were yearning to give back in a meaningful and sustainable way,” says Mario Morfou, Chairman of Mpumalanga Black Aces FC.
He continues, “Being at the heart of SA Tourism, surrounded by the beauty of its landscapes and the wildlife that occupies SANPARKS, the plight of the rhinos stood out for us. We understood clearly that the continued loss of rhinos threatens lives, job security, travel and tourism, economic activity and the standard of living in surrounding communities.”
“The role Rangers play in rhino conservation often goes unnoticed. Their commitment to protecting rhinos, at the risk of losing their own lives, is humbling.”
The unlikely partnership between football and conservation has given birth to a new programme with a life of its own.
On a personal note, StopRhinoPoaching.com recognises the critical role that relationships play in the fight against rhino poaching.
We would like to acknowledge the phenomenal team at Optimize, who have been the heartbeat of putting this project together.
As a strategic marketing and sponsorship agency specialising in sports & entertainment,
they have gone beyond the call of duty for the sake of our rangers and the rhinos they protect.