Spain to boost KZN soccer

2010-02-26 00:00

SPAIN is to build a Sports Academy for budding soccer players in KwaZulu-Natal. The Spanish Ambassador to South Africa, Pablo Benavides, accompanied by members of the Spanish Football Federation confirmed this in the KZN Legislature yesterday.

Benavides said the academy, a World Cup legacy project, will be built in Durban in partnership with the South African government, the Spanish government and the Spanish Football Federation.

He said they chose KZN because of an established relationship with Golden Arrows. Also, one of his country’s NGOs has a long involvement with local government training in the province.

“We were also convinced by your MEC for Sport,” he said.

The ambassador said the idea behind the academy is to give back to the youth who are such ardent supporters of soccer.

“Football is not just sport it is linked to the classroom and linked to society … Sport is a facilitator of tolerance and that is the philosophy behind the academy,” he added.

Benavides said the academy will offer sport, life skills and educational training. On the sports front, the Spanish Soccer Federation hopes the best of European soccer will be achievable in South Africa. Youngsters will learn skills and be offered intense training. On the education front, they will learn to use computers and be taught Spanish. This may help a youngster become a member of Real Madrid or Barcelona

The Spanish team will be based in Potchefstroom during the World Cup.

Another delegation to arrive at the legislature yesterday was that of the Algerians. They have chosen San Lameer on the south coast as their base and had come to sign the agreement.

Their delegation included the president of the Algerian Soccer Federation, Mohammed Rouraoua, and the country’s ambassador to South Africa, Mourad Ben Gheikh.

Premier Zweli Mkhize said his government is excited about the academy. “We believe that this is the beginning of a friendship between the people from the two countries that will benefit future generations.”

He said that despite the fact that the oldest known football club was formed in KZN 100 years ago, soccer in this province is not developing as fast as it should, and he sees the academy giving KZN soccer a kick-start.





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