Two new junior soccer leagues have been launched in Soweto by the SA Football Association (Safa), using funds from the 2010 Fifa Word Cup Legacy Trust.
“We all know to develop the player it takes something like 10 years, so you have to start them at an age where the player puts in the hard work,” the trust fund’s general manager Greg Fredericks said today.
“So by age 22 or 23, they are the finished product.”
The detailed 10-year plan would include Under-13 and Under-15 leagues and academies for both boys and girls.
The announcement followed weekend newspaper reports that Safa had spent part of the R113 million Legacy Trust on buying Mercedes Benz vehicles for their executives.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said the future of South African football was bright and a large number of players would be produced through the new system.
“Our objective is to develop football and we are on the right track,” said Nematandani.
“We need to develop nothing less than 150 000 players as part of a 10-year process. The plans we have are to ensure each region identifies nothing less than 20 top players.”
Monitoring the players would be a nationwide process carried out by Safa-appointed talent spotters.
“We will need to have scouts who have the right knowledge to pick players. Those that are great will make it to one of nine academies, including boys and girls.”
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund applauded the initiative.
“This is the most brilliant idea and should’ve been done a long time ago,” he said.
“We have so much talent in this country, but we don’t have the coaches to match. Everything the players learn at each age group they have to forget as they make it through to the next age group.”