Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane and Technical Director of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Serame Letsoaka, joined forces recently to conduct a Grassroots Development Programme at the Covenant College, a private Christian School in Rispark, south of Johannesburg.
The Grassroots Development Programme is aimed at introducing young boys and girls (between the ages of 6 and 12) to the game of football. With the assistance of FIFA, the programme has been to all provinces of the country under the leadership of Letsoaka.
The school does not have a soccer team, and one of the objectives was to introduce the game to the school. There is also the possibility of appointing a coach for the school once the interest soars.
“We need this kind of roll-out to create a certain level of interest. Most of these schools have only cricket and rugby for their pupils, so we need to initiate football and do something like this once every month,” said Letsoaka.
“This is called mass participation, and from there we are able to identify potential players that we can put in structures that are up and running. The other idea is to appoint or assign a coach to the school to keep the interest high.”
Mosimane was equally pleased with the initiative.
“We need to reach out to these schools. The 2010 FIFA World Cup gave us an indication that schools want to play the game but don’t know where or how to start, so we need to travel the length and breadth of this country to find where there are interested schools and help them. Also, the idea is to start them young and that taps into our vision of development, and speaks to the notion of reviving school sport,” said Mosimane.
“Development is key and we have to look into roping in teachers and development coaches for help at schools. This is the place where they have to have fun, without competing, then decide what they want to do going forward. For us to get development going it’s going to take time but we have to do it. And I am also glad the pupils came to be a part of this venture.”
Just last week, SAFA conducted a grassroots football programme at the A W Muller Stadium on the University of Johannesburg (UJ) campus in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Two hundred children from surrounding schools took part under the watchful eye of fifty six students from the sports faculty at UJ. The trained students are expected to adopt a school in SOWETO. The project at UJ was sponsored by Dreamfield.
Two former football players, Goodman Mazibuko of Moroka Swallows and Lehlohonolo Seema a former Orlando Pirates captain were participants at the course.