Promoting and facilitating the development of football
The South African Football Association sees development as an inherent part of all of its activities and is committed to promoting and facilitating the development of football through a sustainable and integrated approach to all aspects of the game. SAFA has established graded training programmes for coaches, referees and administrators to provide a structured path through the development continuum from grassroots to national level.
SAFA has sponsored programmes for every level of junior football, providing regional and national competitions, coaching, talent identification, a Soccer School of Excellence and national squads with their own training camps and international competition schedules.
SAFA has also broadened its financial base to ensure continued growth by implementing an extensive and innovative marketing programme which has seen SAFA more than double its sponsorship income over the past year.
Development starts early in South Africa and the under-12 age group is the youngest level of organised competition. Under-12 club sides compete annually in the Chappies Little League, with the winners of each regional league progressing to the national finals.
The tournament, sponsored by Cadbury’s, has been running successfully for 12 years. The Simba Young Lions under-12 inter-provincial competition is held annually and a national training squad selected after the tournament. Simba also sponsor 11 development centres throughout the country – with more planned – which employ 28 full-time coaches. Each centre provides coaching for 60 talented players, many of whom moved to SAFA’s Soccer School of Excellence once they turn 13.
At under-14 level, the Transnet inter-provincial competition s sponsored by the national railways company, who also fund the Soccer School of Excellence.
The best players from the tournament are chosen for the national training squad, which is based at the school. South Africa under-14 sides also participate in the Nike International Premier Cup. The world finals were staged in Cape Town in 1997.
At under-17 level, South Africa has a national squad which enters the African championship and world championship qualifiers. Players for this squad are selected after the Coca-Cola under-17 inter-provincial competition.
At under-20, South Africa has already been to one world championship in Malaysia in 1997, after finishing as runners-up in the African championship in Morocco the same year. A inter-provincial competition is also held at under-20 level, sponsored by United Bank.
The South African under-23 team was formed in 1994 with a sponsorship from Sasol Oil. In 1997, a squad of 42 players was selected to form the cote group for the All-Africa Games in Johannesburg in 1999 (South Africa’s team qualify automatically as hosts) as well as the qualifiers for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The squad assembles on a regular basis for training camps and in 1998 has played in the Toulon tournament in France and been on a training camp in Germany.
South Africa’s squad which competed at the African Nations Cup finals in Burkina Faso in 1998 had 11 players who had graduated through the under-23 team.