10 June 2011
The South African Football Association (Safa) is revisiting North West province with its second grassroots development programme, a 2010 Fifa World Cup legacy initiative aimed at nurturing aspirant young footballers.
Grassroots football is a Fifa-initiated football programme aimed at introducing aspirant stars between the ages of six and 12 to the game of football. The first Fifa grassroots development programme was held in North West in May 2010.
The second programme in the province began on Monday and will end on Saturday, 11 June, when South Africa will be marking the one year anniversary of the country’s hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Coaching development seminars
This time around, however, the first five days of the festival are being spent conducting seminars for provincial grassroots coaches.
About 30 participants have been taking part in the coaching development seminars at the Lockerbie and St Quinton lodge in Vryburg, with seminars being conducted by Safa technical director Serame Letsoaka.
Letsoaka said he was receiving a positive response from both the participants and regional administrators: “We have keen participants taking part in the grassroots football programmes in the regions; there have been several grassroots festivals being conducted at various schools.
“We anticipate an increase in the number of coaches as well as schools taking part in the grassroots football programme,” he said.
A number of grassroots coaches have adopted schools to conduct the development football festivals.
“We are seeing more schools taking part in the grassroots festivals,” Letsoaka said. “The one challenge we have encountered at regional levels is that they lack resources and training equipment, thus the coaches adopt schools to conduct the grassroots festivals.
“In the second phase of the grassroots programme we will be handing out training equipment and uniforms to aid the regions and schools in conducting the grassroots programme smoothly.”
Putting theory into practice
The coaches will put theory into practice at the grassroots festival at Huhudi stadium on Saturday, with an estimated 350 children expected to participate in the football activities lined up for the day.
At the launch of the first grassroots development programme in Tshwane last year, Fifa development officer Ashford Mamelodi said the goal of the project was to ensure that every boy and girl started participating in the game at an early age for the good of all the national teams.
“It is a very ambitious program, but one that can be achieved,” Mamelodi said at the time. “We want kids to be ready for competition because we all know there is no competition in the early stages of development.
“If we get this one right, then academies like the School of Excellence will have good players to pick from and will be able to compete better than they are doing now.”