The famed Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto has been temporarily shut down to receive an overhaul that will open doors to sporting codes beyond football.
Sporting goods manufacturer Nike, which is the main sponsor of the state-of-the-art facility, said in a statement that it had decided to “evolve the facility from a single-sport facility to a multisport centre”.
The facility opened in 2010 ahead of the Fifa World Cup and has since become a destination for footballers from all over South Africa, with national teams and some professional clubs often utilising the Astro turf grounds.
Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana were regular users of the facility, which also hosted conferences and amateur football tournaments.
“The Nike Training Centre aims to become an ignition point for the next generation of athletes, to increase female sports participation and to create a safe space for female athletes,” read Nike’s statement.
“The new multipurpose centre will provide the community with a 1.5km running track that [will give] professional and aspiring athletes a space to hone their discipline. In addition, athletes will have access to a training studio, a dance studio and a skate park to fuel the burgeoning skate culture in Johannesburg. Two Fifa-accredited football fields and two small-sided fields play stage to young footballers.”
The company further explained that “a big part of Soweto is its creativity”, saying “the facility will boast impressive workshop rooms that will promote Soweto’s creative community”. The workshops will be led by various creatives and sports personalities.
The centre was officially closed on Monday and will reopen in the second quarter of 2021.