Johannesburg - When South African Breweries recently announced the pre-season Carling Cup event in which the supporters of legendary Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates would select their respective teams' line-ups, the skeptics dismissed it as little more than a gimmick.
But with the announcement on Tuesday that a staggering 3-million calls had been made by the fans of the multi-supported clubs submitting what they though was the best line-ups for the match, the match took on a greater significance.
And when SAB further revealed at a media conference for the July 30 event details of a far-reaching development programme under Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane labelled "Build a Coach Initiative", the five-year initiative took on a greater deal of meaning.
Among those hailing it as a major step in the development of South African soccer to a level where it compete on level terms with the best teams in the world were former European "Footaller of the Year" Ruud Gullit, SAFA vice-president and former World Cup 2010 CEO Danny Jordaan and South African Football Associaition technical director Serame Letsoaka, who will operate the programme in conjunction with Mosimane.
In essence the project will recruit 36 budding coaches and their assistants from the SAB amateur Leagues in each of the next five years and and place them in an intensive workshop process, with the 11 most promising of these coaches each year granted sponsorship to obtain full SAFA coaching degrees.
Gullit, who coached Chelsea in the English Premiership after his illustrious playing career with Holland, described both the July 30 match initiative at FNB Stadium and the coaching venture as "exciting venture" which he was happy to be linked with.
"Providing the right facilities and the properly qualified coaches are a challenge which SAFA is undertaking, as well as a legacy of the World Cup," said Jordaan. "The Build a Coach" project will be an integral part in the process."