The inaugural edition of the Fifa-CAF Pan-African Schools Football Championship was held recently at the Benoni Northern Academy from 12-15 July 2022.
CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe, introduced the initiative last year as part of his plans to promote grassroots football by organising football tournaments in schools across Africa.
The promotion of football in schools is one of CAF’s objectives under Motsepe’s leadership and the Motsepe Foundation duly supported the establishment of the first-of-its-kind initiative to promote youth’s participation in the round leather game.
South Africa’s nine Provinces were represented in three different categories from under 15 to under 19 for both boys and girls.
Mamelodi Sundowns Under-15 boys’ team was crowned champions as Clapham High School from the Gauteng Province defeated Lekgulo High School from the Free State by a solitary goal.
Sundowns academy coaches – Simon Blangwe and Joel ‘Fire’ Masilela took charge of the Under-15 during the three-day tournament.
Coach Blangwe was pleased with the organisation of the tournament, “We had lots of challenges but we managed to complete the task at hand which was to win the competition we participated in. As a Coach, I feel that we need more of these opportunities to empower the youngsters and to help them fulfil their potential. These grassroots development programmes are key to ensuring that we harness the talent we have at the club and across the country. We are proud of the results and most importantly, we are excited about the opportunity to further develop these young prodigies.”
Mamelodi Sundowns legend, Coach ‘Fire’ was full of praise for the initiative, “When we got the information about this tournament, we were very excited. This competition is timely because there are several talented youngsters within the youth team that are promising. The exposure was much needed and I have no doubt that the future is bright.”
The victory by Clapham High School further shows the incredible level of hard work being injected into the youth system thanks to the ever-vibrant academy coaches and support structures.
Congratulations to the youngsters and a massive shout-out to the academy coaches!