Amateur football clubs campaigning in the Free State’s third division have received a shot in the arm in technical equipment sponsorship.This is to enable teams to improve training and the technical ability of the players enlisted by the various clubs in the third division. The sponsorship from South African Breweries (SAB) is a result of a lengthy relationship with the South African Football Association (Safa). Equipment was jointly presented to the clubs in the province by the partners at a function held on 4 October in Bloemfontein. This initiative is nationally for teams in the third-division known as the SAB League, which provides clubs that enlist u.22 players mainly. The league is administered by Safa to develop players at grassroots level. The technical equipment consists of soccer balls, training cones, whistles and stopwatches.Kgosi Mogotsi, SAB’s corporate affairs manager, said development has long been a key element of its football sponsorship. “At the heart of this commitment is the company’s 17-year-long investment in the country’s largest grassroots league, which aims to develop South Africa’s future football stars and the sport at grassroots level,” he said.SAB became the title of the league in 2000. The league was then known as the SAB u.21 Regional League. Each province has a league with 16 teams enlisted and administered by Safa.“It’s very important for our company to support the com- munities we operate in. Sport is one of the key activities that assist in community development. The aim of the league is to identify and nurture young sporting talent at grassroots level, promoting the opportunity for them to move through the ranks of South African football. “The company’s investment in football at grassroots level is entrenched in its conviction that socio-economic change can be brought to South Africa’s communities in this way. “Football has a proven track-record of playing a role in bringing positive change to people’s lives and to communities. SAB takes pride in playing a leadership role in this societal change. “South African football and its standing both at a local and international level can be improved through this approach,” said Mogotsi.The league is South Africa’s largest, covering 52 regions affiliated with Safa. A total of 1 050 clubs compete for promotion, equating to 26 250 players. Letima Mogorosi, Safa’s provincial chairperson, said the federation is very grateful to SAB for their support of football. “I believe that the league will produce talented and educated footballers going forward,” he said.Kutlwano Tlhakudi, chief director at the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, has welcomed the joint initiative. “We as government need partners to help us deliver – especially to the communities. With this soccer initiative we are building the futures of young men and women. Sport unites people,” Tlhakudi said.