Club set to turn academy

2015-11-24 13:39
Wanderers Club chairperson Lawrence McKenzie (left) and president Trevor Brown watch club regular Robin Emslie clear stock out of the premises yesterday.

Wanderers Club chairperson Lawrence McKenzie (left) and president Trevor Brown watch club regular Robin Emslie clear stock out of the premises yesterday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - The well-known Wanderers Club may soon be transformed into a much needed sports development academy catering for about 80 children a year, if the Msunduzi Municipality consents to this.

Maritzburg United’s marketing and communications manager Brian Zuma last week made a proposal to the city’s executive council to refurbish the building and grounds to make way for a new academy.

The football team’s non-profit company, Midlands Sport Development Foundation (MSDF) is envisioned to manage the sporting facility and source funding for the intended academy.

Zuma said the foundation intends to partner with all professional sports teams in the province, mainly Pietermaritzburg-based teams, and will help in developing youth to feed into professional sports teams.

“Professional sports in the city is suffering as a result of the lack of player development compared to teams in other provinces. Teams in Gauteng and Cape Town in particular have far better resources and infrastructure for player development,” said Zuma in his presentation.

The sports academy is expected to target numerous codes of sport such as netball, basketball, volleyball, hockey, table-tennis, bowling, cricket and rugby. However, the primary focus would be on football.

Zuma added that the foundation had already secured a mandate with exclusive rights to scout, train and develop players into Maritzburg United FC’s youth teams.

“We are also in the process of securing mandates from teams representing the city in other professional sports to train and scout youth for their youth teams,” he added.

He said the old Wanderers building is perfectly situated as it is central, with schools and universities in the area, and added that there is also enough space to build a residence for athletes from rural areas.

Suitably qualified coaches will be employed to do coaching and training at the academy with specialist personnel such as a biokineticist, physiotherapist, sports psychologist and nutritionist to be employed to provide services at the academy.

Zuma said the council’s approval was needed urgently to allow for development to start.

Apart from the known under-17 and -15 teams, the foundation plans to introduce under-13 and -11 teams as well. Safa Msunduzi and other sports umbrella bodies also plan to be based at the facility to manage their respective codes of sport showcasing development.

The foundation has not yet released the figure it needs to raise to establish the sports facility.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Some of the plans proposed by the Midlands Sport Development Foundation:

• A high performance centre that will cater for hydrotherapy, psychology, sports medicine and medical testing. Included will be provision of nutrition and guidance on training to sports men and women.

• Gym, medical and physiotherapy rooms.

• Boardroom and storeroom.

• Construction of an indoor soccer facility for playing of futsal that will cater for both men and women. Teams from the community will play at this venue in an established league.

• Swimming pool for sporting and rehabilitation purposes.

• Accommodation for academy players as well as recreational facilities.

• Offices, media and conference facilities.

• Current pub to be converted to a canteen for players, parents and the community.

• Seating facilities at the sides of the field for amateur soccer for spectators during games.

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