SA soccer going for goal in 2015

2014-12-30 15:00

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Safa extends its warmest greetings to the nation at the end of a year that saw the rekindling of hope in our national teams’ fortunes; the reawakening of a giant who used to play football in a way that everyone admired, but who was welcomed by the night to lay its tired head to sleep.

The nation started the year filled with the joy of winning the Cosafa Under-20 Championships in Lesotho in December 2013.

This joy turned into ecstasy when Banyana Banyana qualified for the 2014 African Women’s Championships in Namibia.

The Under-17 men’s national team added to our pleasure when they went on to qualify for the 2015 African Youth Championship, which will be held in Niger in February.

The men’s Under-20 team did not disappoint when they also qualified for the 2015 African Youth Championship, to be held in Senegal in March.

Then, to complete the best year in the history of South African football, the People’s Team, Bafana Bafana, qualified in style for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations that runs from January to February in Equatorial Guinea.

For the first time in the history of South African football, four of our national teams qualified for continental competitions, and did so with grace.

Safa is thankful to its partners, the 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust, SA Breweries, Sasol, Tsogo Sun, Burger King/Grand Parade Investments, Nike, Energade, Motsepe Foundation, EY, Avis and the National Lotteries Board for their unstinting support, which provided the light for us to see the revival of South African soccer’s fortunes on the African continent.

The year 2014 saw us pushing the boundaries in coach education, training coaches in higher numbers than ever before, stabilising our refereeing structures around the country to produce excellence in officiating and placing a renewed emphasis on growing women’s participation in the sport.

We continued developing our Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 leagues in all 341 of our local football associations, strengthened the ABC Motsepe League and partnered more closely with SA Breweries in a broad scouting programme to increase the pool of talent for our national teams from the SAB Regional Leagues being played in all 52 of our regions around SA.

The new year, therefore, promises to build on the achievements of a very busy 2014.

As we did in December 2013, we end the year with another of our national teams, the women’s Under-20 side, winning the gold medal in the Southern African Games (Region V), held in Zimbabwe this month.

SA is indeed blessed with football talent and a winning mentality.

The year 2015, therefore, promises to be even busier than 2014 and we will not be able to achieve our best without the support of the South African public – the supporters who are always there, through the good and bad times, and the corporate partners that make it possible for our programmes to thrive.

May your new year be filled with hope to enable you to achieve your best, despite any doubts you may have.

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