Pretoria – As part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup legacy, the South African Football Association (Safa) revisited the North West with its second grassroots development programme aimed at nurturing and developing aspirant young footballer’s skills.
Grassroots football is a FIFA initiated football programme aimed at introducing aspirant young stars between the ages of six and 12 to the game of football.
This second grassroots development programme in the North West province began on Monday and will end on Saturday, June 11, when the country will be marking the one year anniversary of the country’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
However, the first five days of the second grassroots festival will be spent conducting seminars for provincial grassroots coaches.
About 30 participants are taking part in the coaching development seminars at the Lockerbie and St Quinton lodge in Vryburg.
The first FIFA grassroots development programme was held in the same province in May 2010. The grassroots seminar for provincial coaches in the North West region is 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, 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 uniform to aid the regions and schools in conducting the grassroots programme smoothly,” he said.
On the last day, the coaches will put theory into practice at the grassroots festival on Saturday at the Huhudi stadium where an estimated 350 children are 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 starts 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. 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 they can compete better than they are doing now,” Mamelodi said. – Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews