Cape Town - The South African Football Association (SAFA) has launched
the inaugural under-15 Boys and Girls Nelson Mandela Youth Challenge.
The launch took place at the SAFA’s new centre, Fun Valley,
south of Johannesburg on Tuesday, 14 July 2015.
According to SAFA's website, it was attended by, among others, new SAFA Technical
Director Neil Tovey, SAFA NEC member Paseka Nkone, participating teams as well
as Joe Carrim from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust, which funds the
Nine provinces - both boys and girls - will tackle each
other for the top prize. The tournament will be used as part of the under-17
“Just last week we concluded the SAFA under-17 tournament, and
today we are starting the with the under-15 tournament – this is a clear sign of
putting to action what we have been talking about when we refer to Vision 2022.
To be among the best in the world we need to invest more at grassroots and that
is exactly what we are doing,” said SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan.
“We are also delighted that our national teams are also very
active. Just last week we had the Women’s under-20 team playing against Botswana,
and congratulations to them on a fine win; the under-17 National Team just concluded
one of their training camps for the World Cup in Chile in October; the under-23 National
Team is in camp preparing for a clash against Zimbabwe this weekend and Banyana
Banyana will also face Kenya on the same day – both 2016 Rio Olympic
qualifiers. The more matches they play the better they become, and quickly get
to our Vision 2022 mission.”
The Nelson Mandela Youth Challenge will kick off on
Wednesday, July 15 at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.
“This is a step in the right direction for the development
of football in our country. For far too long we have all complained about the
lack of development, but what we don’t realise is that nothing will happen if
stand by and watch, we have to get our hands dirty and make it happen. It might
take a long time but the results will come,” said Tovey at the launch.
“One of the first mandates I have as the Technical Director
is to get you the under-15s and all those younger players - regular and structured
football. We need to put more focus at the bottom so that the top – Bafana
Bafana and Banyana Banyana - can be strong. The top footballing nations around
the world use the same strategy. If you look at Spain, England, Germany they
all have strong youth teams who play regular football and that helps in
producing quality national team players.”
The tournament is an extension of the Annual Mandela
Challenge, played by Bafana Bafana against visiting countries, but is now
expanded to the under 13 and 15 boys and girls.
“It was important for us as the Legacy Trust to be involved
in this initiative to keep afloat the words of Nelson Mandela of taking care of
the children. We all know a nation that does not take care of its little ones
will perish – and what better way to launch this event on the birthday month of
our late icon. We are confident in the years to come we will enjoy the fruits
of this toil that we see today,” said Carrim.
The draw was also conducted at the launch.
In Group A of the boys section Western Cape was drawn
against Mpumalanga and Northern Cape. In Group B hosts Gauteng will go toe to
toe with Free State and Eastern Cape, while KwaZulu Natal, North West and
Limpopo will battle it out in Group C.
For the girls section, Group A has Mpumalanga, Limpopo and
North West, in Group B there is Free State, Northern Cape and hosts Gauteng
while Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal were drawn in Group C.
The opening match in the boys’ category will see Western
Cape lock horns with Mpumalanga at 10:30, while Mpumalanga and Limpopo will
kick-start the proceedings on the girls’ side.
The semi-finals as well as the third place play-off will
take place on Friday, July 17 at Nike Centre.
The finals of both sections are scheduled for Saturday, July 18 at the Dobsonville Stadium – with the girls scheduled to kick-off at 09:00,
and the boys to follow an hour later.
The matches will be played as a curtain raiser to the 2016
Rio Olympic Games qualifier between Banyana Banyana and Kenya, which will start