The academy’s U/12, U/14 and U/16 divisions participated in the tournament, during which more than 600 schoolboys completed a year of soccer and life-skills training. The top teams from the academy played round-robin games to determine the overall winning team and when the tournament ended, all teams received a certificate and a meal for participating, while trophies were awarded to the winning teams, selected players and coaches.
“Soccer is a universal language that has proved to be an excellent catalyst for the all-round development of our participating youngsters with a strong focus on life-skills, values and academic success. The aim of the programme, while effective in providing a healthy extra-mural activity, is also to provide youngsters with opportunities to become responsible young adults through an approach that identifies and develops sporting talent and tertiary education opportunities,” said Tsogo Sun’s Group CSI Manager, Shanda Paine.
Sponsored by Silverstar Casino, the Tsogo Sun Soccer Academy had 629 learners in 64 teams from 35 Mogale City schools participating in the school league this year.
The children were part of a talent development programme which could see them becoming national stars. Soccer legends such as former Bafana Bafana captain, Lucas Radebe and Kaizer Chiefs player, Morgan Gould, showed their support at the tournament as the official ambassadors of the programme.
The Academy has been operating on the West Rand for six years and provides weekly training and inter-school league matches, talent identification and life-skills development to encourage youngsters to reach their full potential.
As a result, it has also become a good hunting ground for soccer scouts, and several talented young players have been scouted by clubs such as Kaizer Chiefs, Bidvest Wits, Supersport United and Orlando Pirates.
“We collaborate strongly with local school district officials, schools, educators and the parents of the young players, and we all work together to equip their children to make better choices throughout their lives,” said Shanda.