Aspiring young footballers from Swansea have been emulating their promotion-winning heroes, Swansea City.
Pentrehafod School was crowned No Messin’ Railway Safety Cup 2011 champions after a five-a-side tournament, organised by British Transport Police (BTP), Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales, saw teams from comprehensive schools across South Wales battle it out on the pitch.
Although Pentrehafod lifted the trophy for Wales’s Premier League city, all 12 teams were awarded 50 tickets for a Wales international, courtesy of the Football Association of Wales.
Pentrehafod, whose school is just a free-kick away from the Liberty Stadium, emerged victorious beating Caerleon 2-0 in the final and winning the Railway Safety Cup.
They were presented with a shirt signed by the Wales football squad for display in their school. Player of the Tournament was Pentrehafod’s Lewis Thomas, who spearheaded his side’s march to glory at Swansea’s PlayFootball facility, while Pontarddulais and Llanrumney made up the quartet of semi-finalists.
The aim of the event is to promote alternative activities for youngsters to discourage them from trespassing on the railway.
During the regional rounds of the tournament, which is supported by the FAW and Brecon Carreg, each team received a hard-hitting safety presentation from PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) featuring young people and families who have been affected by trespass on the railway.
Around 200 children have been involved in the tournament, spread over three regional rounds – Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Cardiff – with the four semi-finalists from each heat progressing to the grand final.
Inspector Gary Ash, who is in charge of BTP’s Welsh Neighbourhood Policing Teams, said, “The final was a high quality affair, befitting of the standards set throughout the tournament, and it was a pleasure to see so many talented young players being given the platform to display their abilities.
“Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, and I’m delighted to see that this year’s enhanced tournament has been so popular with schools right across South Wales.
“Their participation reflects the positive engagement our Neighbourhood Policing Teams have in their respective communities. We are already looking forward to building on that success for the 2012 event, which promises to be even more special.
“With the summer holidays fast approaching, this has been a fantastic opportunity to engage with young people and demonstrate to them that there are plenty of positive activities they can take part in without having to endanger their lives by trespassing on or near the railway.
“While clearly enjoying the opportunity to express themselves on the pitch, it has been extremely encouraging to see the youngsters’ attitude off the pitch, where they have taken on board the inherent dangers of railway trespass and the consequences this could have on themselves and their families.”
Swansea City will be sweeping all before them in the Premier League next season – becoming the first Welsh team to play in the division since its formation in 1992.