Sundowns move ahead in Youth Development – Bishop25/Aug/2015 17:51
Even before the requirements for the concept of club licencing were formally set by the Premier Soccer League, Mamelodi Sundowns had already started implementing their football academy all the way down to the Under 15 category, and have been working at a foundation programme for even younger ages, Head of Youth Shawn Bishop has told Fifa.com.
The world football governing body FIFA is set to roll out minimum standards for clubs to comply with in order to participate in official tournaments through a global FIFA Club Licencing System. These standards include training facilities, youth football development, good quality stadiums, and professional, trained staff.
According to Fifa.com, the CAF Club Licencing Manager Ahmed Harraz cited South Africa as having set the benchmark for the region in fully implementing its own criteria.
“The PSL is doing a great job in organising the league and raising the level of the clubs,” he is quoted as saying.
Bishop who has spearheaded the youth development programme of Mamelodi Sundowns, points at the recent success of the U17 national squad which has qualified for the U17 World Cup in Chile in October, and of which Bishop is an assistant coach.
“Most of our players come from four institutions in the province of Gauteng who have been working on their youth academies: Supersport, Wits, School of Excellence and Sundowns. If we establish national principles to have clubs investing in the development of youth football, the growth and the results will certainly be there to be seen,” he told Fifa.com.
The Mamelodi Sundowns Youth Academy has, in the last 2-3 years had a number of achievements in all age groups, winning the National Engen U17 tournament twice, the Nike South Africa U15 tournament twice, the Sanlam Kay Motsepe U19 once, and currently in the National Finals again to be played in October, the Coca Cola U15 tournament twice, and the Inter Provincial U17 tournament twice.
Sundowns has also featured in a number of finals and semi-finals over the last two years, being in the Finals of the U19 Bayhill tournament against Ajax and the semi-finals last year, also against Ajax.
The U15 have twice travelled to England to represent South Africa at the prestigious Nike U15 Premier Cup, playing against the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United
“The crowning achievement in my opinion is that a number of players have represented the country at all Age groups, over the last two years
Nine players have, over the last two years, come from the U17 team, with four having achieved a final against Mali at the African Youth Championship and will represent SA at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile, while eight have represented the country in the Under 20, five in the U23, and one youth product Madisha Mojeka has featured for Bafana Bafana.
Two players Khaya Shozi and Madisha Majeka from the Academy have this year been promoted into the senior team and, according to Bishop, the Sundowns MultiChoice Reserve team this season will be made up primarily of players from the Academy with about 20 players under the age of 20 playing in the team for the upcoming 2015 / 2016 season.