Cape Town - The work going on in the Cape Winelands region where PEC Zwolle and the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) currently are, has been met with approval by Safa's technical director Fran Hilton-Smith.
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Hilton-Smith was in Stellenbosch to meet with Dutch top-flight club Zwolle and see the work being done by the KNVB World Coaches, which include former Holland World Cup star Aron Winter, and their focus on educating the region's coaches at grass root levels such as school and amateur level.
The University of Stellenbosch, who plan for their team to be in the Premier Soccer League top-flight in future, have a technical partnership with Zwolle and the club are spending their mid season break training in Stellenbosch as they did last season. Stellenbosch University's senior team currently play in the SAB League, South Africa's fourth tier of football structures.
The partnership has always been about building the right foundations, starting at grass root level with coaching education and the sharing of expertise across all levels of the game from coaching to player exchanges as well as life skills and management.
Zwolle played and drew with Santos earlier this week and will play Ajax Cape Town on Saturday evening before returning home for the second half of the Eredivisie campaign.
“With the coaching courses that the KNVB are doing here and the presence of a club like PEC Zwolle, it has really changed the face of football in this region of the Cape Winelands,” Hilton-Smith says.
“Safa are now bringing these KNVB courses under our wing so that we can grade them as per CAF (Confederation of African Football) standards. This is so that the coaches doing these courses can get CAF licenses.
"The co-operation happening between the KNVB and Safa will now continue to open doors for our coaches to go over and study in Holland.
“An example of this was when Johan (Van Geijn, of KNVB World Coaches) took one of our B license coaches (Simphiwe Dludlu) to study in Holland and she spent four months there.
"Now she comes back with lots more experience and our plan for her to coach within the women’s junior national teams is a whole lot closer to happening."
Hilton-Smith was recently appointed to the newly-formed Fifa Women's Football Task Force whose duties included identifying players and harnessing their talent, and developing a universal strategy for women's football. Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said this initiative should form part of the Brazil 2014 Legacy.