SUPERSPORT United defender and Knysna’s Thabo September believes this year’s under-16 soccer tournament named in his honour has unearthed a wealth of talent on the Garden Route.
Expectations are high that several players who turned out for the event, played at the Loerie Park sports stadium in Knysna last weekend, will join the SuperSport Academy later this year.
Last year’s tournament saw two 14-year-old players, from Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, being selected for the academy.
For the past three years September, 30, has hosted the event in which 16 teams from around the Southern Cape battle it out for the coveted title, in an effort to give more exposure to the region’s young soccer players.
“This year’s tournament went beyond expectations,” September said yesterday. “There was so much support from families and the various communities. The kids really enjoyed the weekend.” After many closely fought encounters, it was George who finally prevailed, beating Oudtshoorn 7-2 in the final on Sunday afternoon. “We will receive a report about the players’ performances in the next two weeks.”
Should any youngsters have made an impression on selectors, they will attend the Pretoria-based academy – at no cost to their families.
The past weekend also saw the launch of the Thabo September Foundation, which will be looking at similar exposure and development for other sporting codes in the region.
The foundation also intends establishing several community outreach programmes with strong emphasis on life skills, principles and values, and living positively with HIV/Aids.
Speaking at the launch, Knysna mayor Georlene Wolmarans thanked September for his continued commitment to the town and Southern Cape.
Wolmarans said September was looking beyond sport to the social structures of communities, which was even more commendable.