Tension in the Motherwell schools football community is mounting ahead of the Vodacom Motherwell Football Tournament, set to kick off Friday, 17 June, at 0900. The first match pits the boys open squads from Coselelani High School against their counterparts at Ndyebo Senior Secondary. Two packed days of knockout play between boys and girls U13 and open age group teams from 31 Motherwell Primary and secondary schools, culminating with the finals in each division scheduled from 1300 to 1600 on Saturday, 18 June. All matches will be played at the NU2 stadium in Motherwell (map link: http://bit.ly/1Ucj2SL).
“In this first year of SAFA’s administration of schools football, our mission is to provide more opportunities for all learners to participate in football tournaments and leagues; to develop and grow our sport at the schools level and integrate schools football into SAFA’s national team scouting initiatives,” stated SAFA NEC member and head of SAFA’s Schools Football Committee, Mzimkhulu Fina. “The benefits to schools will be immediate and we hope the benefit to our national teams will soon follow.”
The tournament will be used to pilot a new player verification system aimed at eradicating age- and identity-cheating. For the first time, players participating in the tournament will be issued Vodacom SIM cards. The SIM cards will act as digital player ID cards, displaying player and tournament stats when a player enters the competition USSD string.
“The entire community is getting behind this tournament,” continued Mr. Fina. “With 1,200 learners from 31 schools participating, it will be the largest schools tournament ever held in Motherwell — perhaps all of the Eastern Cape. SIM cards have already been distributed to open players and parents that only adds to the buzz around this event. We hope it is the first of many.”
“We must thank our sponsor Vodacom for making this tournament a possibility and of course our partners Inqaku who brought all the pieces together and provide the technology platform. Our suppliers Energade, Nike and the Sundays River Citrus Company, have all been extremely generous as well and must be commended. Without them this event would not be possible.”
The tournament will coincide with the NXT LVL talent search initiative that will see the best 14-16 year-old players in the country attending a boot camp with soccer greats Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish, as well as former Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini, with the top player walking away with a full TUKS Sports High School scholarship.
Vodacom Brand Director Mzamo Masito said the operator has had a history of empowering South Africans through technology, and that it hopes to create an engaging platform through the tournament.
“Young South Africans often dream of making it in life and often it just remains a dream, but through Vodacom NXT LVL, any aspiring soccer player has the chance to be discovered and to take their talent and passion to greater heights,” he said.
SAFA President and NMB Metro Mayor Dr. Danny Jordaan, and SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble are both expected to attend on the day of the finals.
Nike: Supplier of match balls; to be distributed to each team at the conclusion of the event
Tiger Brands: Providing Energade refreshment to all the athletes through both days of the tournament
Sundays River Citrus Company (SRCC): Supplying oranges for half-time refreshment during all matches
- Douglas Mbopha
- JJR Jolobe (James)