The South African Football Association (SAFA) yesterday announced that the Motsepe Foundation would sponsor the SAFA Second Division League for the next five years as part of the association’s commitment to focus on youth development.
The league will now be known as the ABC Motsepe League, and will carry a first prize of R1-m to the winning team of which R200 000 will be used by the winning team for development purposes. There will be a runner up prize of R500 000 of which R100 000 is to used by the runner up for development purposes.
This staggering prize money is a clear statement by the Motsepe Foundation, its patrons Mr Patrice Motsepe and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe and the Trustees on the importance and significance of the development of sport whilst empowering the youth and creating opportunity for a better life.
In making the announcement, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, said yesterday was a historic day for South African football.
“This is a great boost for South African football and we want to thank the Motsepe Foundation for their consistency in supporting grassroots development which is the most important sector of football.
“The Second Division is the last leg before teams progress into the professional ranks and it is therefore SAFA’s responsibility to make sure teams are financially viable as well as to have proper developmental structures.
“We have created a unique and probably a world first by allocating part of the prize money to youth development,” said the SAFA President.
The Motsepe Foundation has responded to a request by SAFA to partner the organisation to develop soccer at the lower levels in order to grow South African football. The SAFA request was in line with the Motsepe Foundation vision of empowering, growing and enabling South Africans from all walks of life.
The Foundation is committed to a number of causes within our country from Women and Economic Empowerment to the Youth and Sport. This opportunity lends itself well to being a second tier to what the Foundation is doing at high school level through the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Cup.
The partnership would not only focus on player development, with the stern age criteria which the Mostepe Foundation is putting as a condition to the sponsorship which will see six under 21 players included and playing on the field per team at each game played in the ABC Motsepe League, but it would also explore ways to develop administration at all levels in order to establish sound management of the league and improve football adminstration in the country.
With 144 teams playing in the ABC Motsepe league, this will mean that in excess of 1500 players under the age of 21 will be given opportunity to play in an organized, competitive league, getting exposed to stronger training and coaching. This single action will undoubtedly bode well for the National team in five to 10 years time, as this influx of young talent graduates to higher ranks of our football.
The league will be named after the late Mr ABC Motsepe, father of Mr Patrice Motsepe. This is in recognition of the legacy of Mr Motsepe Senior, who was an educator, a principal who was committed to the growth and development of the youth, an entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist in his own right.
As a school principal, he was renowned for ensuring that even students who were turned down by other institutions were admitted and educated, and stressed the need for students to be innovative and passionate about whatever they do. Above all, he was a keen soccer follower.
Several end-of-season awards will also be made, and these will be named after soccer administrators who have made life-long contribution to the development of soccer. This is also in a bid to ensure that the league and all who are involved in it strive for exellence and uplifting the league and ensuring a consitent supply of talent for our National teams whilst developing the youth.