Making stars of aspirants

2019-05-09 06:01
UFM founder Kelvin Mufuka (left) with head coach Wilfred Mugeyi.

UFM founder Kelvin Mufuka (left) with head coach Wilfred Mugeyi.

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Since its inception in 2011, Universal Football Management (UFM) has been striving to make the dreams of thousands of young, aspiring football stars a reality.

Founded by Zimbabwean national Kelvin Mufuka, a resident of Asanda Village for the last 10 years, the organisation is making huge strides in unearthing talent in local township communities.

“The passion for soccer is evident in all communities, and we often find that township players are not exposed to professional scouts or teams,” Mufuka explained. “I realised this and decided to create a platform where youngsters from the age of eight can be exposed to the demands of playing at a higher, more competitive level.”

He added he has linked up with professional teams and former professional players to assist him in his quest.

The idea of forming such an organisation was born in 2007, but it was after the euphoria of the 2010 World Cup that UFM became a reality.

Over the years the organisation has grown and now has seven directors, some of whom are based in Belgium, the UK and Zimbabwe.

“Our aim is to be known globally, but this is a long-term project, and we have a long way to go before we reach our goal,” said Mufuka.

The basic function of UFM is to scout and identify rising talents and negotiate football trials for players, find placement for players in academies, establish player carrier plans, and management and marketing of players.

“We create opportunities for professional teams to find talent and we create opportunities for youngsters from the townships to be scouted. Once we identify a player we have him assessed by our head coach Wilfred Mugeyi (former Zimbabwe international and former AmaZulu FC coach), we then assess the players readiness. Only once we are completely satisfied is the player then given an opportunity to be assessed by a professional team,” explained Mufuka.

Mufuka said there have been many achievements in this regard, and most recently a team of under-14 players were put together to play a friendly match against the under-14 team of Ajax Cape Town.

He said: “They were very impressed with our players, and we are confident of the potential of many of the players. But this is a process and the ultimate aim is to groom the youngsters from now, so that when they are old enough to play in a senior team they will be ready.”

UFM scouts players from all age divisions and senior teams, and have received a wealth of support from parents, community members and township clubs.

“We are seeing improvements daily and reaching areas all over the country, not just the Western Cape,” said Mufuka.

“We want to recognise talents wherever they may be so that they too can be given an opportunity on the big stage.

“One of our biggest challenges is transport. We recently secured a friendly match where scouts would be attending at a match in Kwazulu Natal, but we were unable to make it as we had no transport. We also need permanent training grounds, but without transport everything is secondary”.

Asked if UFM were progressing to where they wanted to be, Mufuka laughed. “We’re almost there,” he said. We’ve established a wide network of contacts, and we’ve already successfully introduced talent to a number of teams. We’ve also touched base with dozens of township clubs.

“We are now into our last stretch but it is a long-term goal and we are striving towards success”.V For more information or to get in touch with UFM, send an email to info@ufmanagement.co.za or call 078 474 4112.

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