Budding soccer players may no longer face a bleak future if their careers come to an abrupt end.
Thanks to an initiative by the South African Breweries and the South African Football Association of establishing a bursary scheme aimed at assisting footballers to develop beyond their soccer career.
The initiative is pioneered by the South African Breweries, which is also the sponsor of the SAB league, a development soccer league with over 1500 clubs countrywide.
SAB’s economic development manager for corporate affairs, Octavius Phukubye said that the bursary scheme aims to assist the 32 000 soccer players who are registered with SAB league to access opportunities to develop other skills while they pursue their soccer careers.
“The study assistance programme was introduced as a means of providing players a solid academic foundation in addition to their sporting careers. This will allow them to expand their career options outside of footbal if they wish to do so in future,” said Phukubye.
He said, however, the criteria for participating in the programme would include the soccer players’ academic history.
He also revealed that SAFA regional co-ordinators will also be given tablets to capture the games in their respective regions.
The SAB league is credited for producing some of the country’s leading soccer stars, such as Kaizer Chiefs’ Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Orlando Pirates’ Happy Jele, among others.
The occasion also marked the hand-over of soccer kits to the regional co-ordinators which cost R3 million.
President of the South African Football Association in Mpumalanga, Brains Zulu, commended the SAB for supporting development soccer in the country.
“We are grateful to SAB for their consistency on their approach to football development. Their sponsorship has assisted us in producing quality footballers for our country and with the new season’s approach, we will produce even better players, coaches and administrators,” said Zulu.