24 August 2022 – South African Football Association (SAFA) president Dr Danny Jordaan welcomed delegates to the FIFA Football for Schools Programme as the three-day event got underway at the SAFA National Technical Centre in the south of Johannesburg on Wednesday (24 August 2022).

The world football governing body, SAFA, the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation and the Department of Basic Education have invited educators from across the country to attend the inaugural gathering from 24-26 August 2022.

With Football for Schools programme director Fatimata Sow Sidibe, FIFA officials Alberto Giacomini, Alexandra Huete and Antonio Buenano, representatives from all the SAFA Regions and a strong media contingent in attendance, Dr Jordaan said the delegates have been tasked with producing the next generation of African footballers, both men and women.

“In football you plan for four years, from one World Cup to the next,” the SAFA president said.

“We had Vision 2022, which ends with the Qatar World Cup in December. The next four years is 2022 to 2026 and a major focus of Vision 2030, which has two phases, Phase One (2022 to 2026) and Phase Two (2026 to 2030), and we have to talk about where does this programme fit in terms of the future of South African football.

“I am very happy that in the beginning of the new phase of the development of our vision we have the Football for Schools programme director here, madam Fatimata Sow Sidibe.”

Through the Football for Schools Programme, FIFA supports local schools around the world for boys and girls aged between four and 14 in the use of football as a tool for social development, thus improving the live skills of schoolchildren.

To this end, FIFA, provides financial and other types of support (such as the donation of educational and teaching materials as well as football equipment) to schools around the world with and through the assistance of the FIFA member associations concerned.  

Sidibe said the Football for Schools Programme is also about strengthening the life skills of children.

“South Africa is the first country in the COSAFA Region where we are launching the FIFA Football for Schools Programme,” Sidibe said.

“We are happy to be here because the president (Dr Jordaan) mentioned that in Africa we should have players and clubs going to the final of the World Cup. We have to be prepared, we have to be prepared now and we have to prepare the future generations.

“But not only the football players, the Football for Schools Programme is also about strengthening the life skills of children, helping the children to be good players and also have all the skills to have a good life.’’

Dr Jordaan told the delegates that they have a huge responsibility in the next stage of the development of South African football.

“You must produce that next generation of African footballers, men and women, that goes to the World Cup, goes to the final stages and then the final itself,” the SAFA president said.

“This requires you to identify them early, work with them, and I hope this programme will enrich and motivate you so that you can be the ambassadors of the next generation of South African footballers.”