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Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation on the North-West University

Written By Themba Khumalo on Saturday, October 19, 2013 | Saturday, October 19, 2013

“Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation on the North-West University a first for the South African tertiary educational sector”

North-West University Vaal Triangle Campus - Kaizer Chiefs Football Club and the North-West University (NWU) have officially entered into a partnership to construct the “Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation” on the NWU Vaal Triangle Campus, situated in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng.  This pioneering initiative is a first for both sport and higher education in the country and will see the establishment of a multi-purpose, Kaizer Chiefs dedicated walk-in centre on the Vaal campus of one of South Africa’s leading and largest educational institutions. 

Two prolific organisations

The partnership between Kaizer Chiefs and the NWU signifies two powerful South African brands coming together for the creation of synergy.  Kaizer Chiefs is widely considered one of the continent’s largest sport brands with a supporters-base of more than 16 million people and a rich legacy of achievement – on and off the field of play.  In an illustrious history spanning more than 40 years, the club has been the most successful football team in South Africa – claiming more than 80 league and or club titles.  Kaizer Chiefs is also currently the Absa Premiership and Nedbank Cup champions.  The NWU is one of South Africa’s largest universities with a student number in excess of 65 000; and has for the last six years running been awarded the prestigious PricewaterhouseCoopers award for the country’s best governed university.  Comprising of three campuses (Potchefstroom, Mafikeng and Vaal), it is internationally known as a preferred sports training venue.

The university hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup football winners Spain at its High Performance Institute; and 19 London 2012 Olympic Games medals was produced by international athletes who trained at this facility in Potchefstroom.  The NWU Vaal Triangle Campus, where the Kaizer Chiefs Innovation Centre is to be based at, is situated on a picturesque nature reserve and is considered the Vaal region’s business and information technology knowledge hub.  The executives of the two organisations articulated their enthusiasm for the partnership.  Mr. Kaizer Motaung, executive chairman of Kaizer Chiefs, commented: It is a milestone in the history of Kaizer Chiefs coming together to team up with the institution of this magnitude, North West University in pursuance of a very noble exercise in terms of empowerment of sports people. The launch of the Innovation Centre will be instrumental in getting us glued to the communities especially in this area that has a very rich history of football. In the 60s, 70s and 80s the Vaal area has produced lots of footballers.

The partnership will benefit the broader community. It is about empowerment of sports people and the community at large. This is also part of the expansion process that we have embarked upon.  These sentiments were shared by Dr Theuns Ellof, vice-chancellor of the NWU:  “From the NWU’s perspective as a higher education institution with a track record of education and training as well as development and research in sport, initiatives like these give meaning to our vision”.

The Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation

Ms. Jessica Motaung, Marketing Director of Kaizer Chiefs, summed up the vision of the Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation: We are excited with the launch of this relationship. The relationship augers well in terms of expanding the Kaizer Chiefs brand. Bringing the two institutions, North West University and Kaizer Chiefs, will allow us to grow the brand. The Innovation Centre will act as an interface between us and our fan base in both the university students and the Amakhosi supporters in the surrounding Sedibeng region. We believe that the Innovation Centre will add value in terms of our community engagements.

The Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation will be a multi purpose facility that is to be constructed on the NWU Vaal Campus, comprising the following main elements:

Brand- and Retail Hub

Walk-in centre with modern and digital properties where students, supporters and the local community can enjoy a front to end “Kaizer Chiefs Experience”. Decorated in history and memorobilia of the brand, the above mentioned stakeholders will be able to enjoy fun activities in the centre and purchase product from the wide range of Kaizer Chiefs merchandise offerings.

Research Hub

Scientific research and development centre where NWU academics and - post graduate students can work on strategic projects identified jointly by the two brands within the sport, sport management and
South African football arena.

Training Hub

Empowerment centre through training and development of various stakeholders such as local Kaizer Chiefs supporters branches, the Kaizer Chiefs Youth Development Academy staff and organisations involved in local community engagement initiatives.

Part of a broader vision  

The Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation solidifies the relationship between Kaizer Chiefs and the NWU.  The two parties have been working closely together in conceptualising and planning for the Kaizer Chiefs Youth Development Academy over the course of the last year.  The establishment of a leading youth development academy has long been a vision of the chairman, Mr. Kaizer Motaung.  Thus, engagement with the NWU to act as an expert and advisory consultant to this planning process has been testament to the university’s research and knowledge generation capabilities.  Prof. Thanyani Mariba, rector of the NWU Vaal Triangle Campus, emphasized this: “The NWU prides itself on being a powerhouse of academic excellence and through this partnership – and more so the Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation, the Campus will continue to act as a proud enabler of future success and ultimately, significance. As an institution of higher learning we believe that it is not just about educating and moulding young minds but also about creating prospects that will contribute to the bettering of the country and the improvement of the quality of life for all”.

A formal memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the Kaizer Chiefs Centre of Innovation has been undersigned by both Mr Motaung and Prof Mariba and construction of the building is expected to start by the end of 2013.  The centre should be fully operational by the middle of 2014.       
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