GRASSROOTS football in the Eastern Cape received a major boost when cement manufacturer PPC, in partnership with the Safa Development Agency (SDA), launched a soccer talent development programme in Port Elizabeth this week.
The company injected R10-million which will be used over three years to help identify and develop talented youngsters aged between seven and 13 in all eight of Safa’s regions in the province.
The SDA was appointed by the Safa national executive committee in 2012 after the dismal performance of Bafana Bafana in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, to implement the organisation’s technical master plan and 2022 vision. The aim is to uplift South Africa’s national football teams from the U13 ranks.
The launch event was attended by SDA chief executive Robin Petersen, Sport and Culture MEC Xoliswa Tom, PPC managing director Richard Tomes, Safa’s provincial chairman and NEC member Mzimkhulu Fina and representatives from the various regions.
The programme will build a talent identification and development pipeline with the 57 local football associations in the province.
Also, the partnership will see the training of coaches with the aim of having a 1:20 coach to player ratio.
“We are excited about PPC’s commitment to invest in the realisation of this nation-changing project,” Petersen said. “While this is about football development in this province, it also touches, in a profound way beyond football, the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people that will be impacted through this programme.”
Petersen said Safa’s 2022 vision was for South Africa to be rated in the top three football teams in Africa and in the top 20 in the world by 2022.
MEC Tom said provincial football stakeholders would need to decide how to implement the development plan so that all the regions could benefit. – Mthetho Ndoni