Madibaz Football Club’s vision of promoting the development of juniors in the metro is bearing fruit, with the Nelson Mandela University U16 side winning three titles this year.
This past weekend the team triumphed in the final of the Port Elizabeth Football Association (Pefa) Knockout Cup, adding to the titles they won in the Mayoral Cup and the Pefa U16 league.
The university is running teams in the Pefa U16 and U18 leagues, which Madibaz football manager Mark Tommy said was part of their objective to grow their own soccer school of excellence.
He said besides the U16 team’s success this year, the U18s were always competitive in the various tournaments, invariably ending in the top three sides.
“Part of our vision is to create sustainable grassroots development in the city,” said Tommy. “To this end, the club initiated a joint venture with Ndzondelelo High by adopting two teams.
“Through the untiring efforts of teacher Dumisa Thys, this initiative is in its fifth year with the teams participating as Madibaz in the junior leagues.”
Tommy said he felt it could have massive spin-offs for Madibaz football and the game in the region. “If these successes are anything to go by, just imagine what could be achieved through improved resourcing and joint ventures with commercial partners.”
“I believe there is potential to turn a normal school venture into a football school of excellence programme.”
He said as there were limitations in university bursary funding to attract and retain the city’s top football talent, their key objective with Ndzondelelo was to encourage pupils to become NMU students.
“That can only benefit the senior Madibaz team, as well as providing the pupils with access to higher education.”
He said they recruited only from Ndzondelelo, which added value to the school’s extramural curriculum.
Tommy said the Madibaz club also provided coaching opportunities. “We have, over the years, focused on the skills development of the coaches recruited by Mr Thys.”