South Africa's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will have long-term benefits for football in South Africa. As part of the 2010 Legacy Project, a national programme of grassroots football development will be set up immediately after the World Cup. The grassroots football development programme will focus mainly on schools.
The programme will be run by the South African Football Association (SAFA) in partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation and the world football controlling body, FIFA.
The commitment to develop grassroots soccer follows a two-day SAFA meeting earlier this year on Robben Island in Cape Town.
SAFA will appoint dedicated people to be responsible for grassroots football at all levels. In addition, SAFA will also identify Legacy Projects linked to the programme.
The association will then apply for FIFA Goal Project Funding for the SAFA School of Excellence.
FIFA Goal Project Funding helps many national football associations to put up much-needed facilities in their countries throughout the world to develop the game of football.
The new national grassroots football development programme will also help existing programmes launched last year.
Among the programmes launched last year is the construction of football turf, which is part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Legacy Project.
It is South Africa's biggest grassroots football development programme.
The football turf sites will be in deep rural areas with the main aim of encouraging everyone to play and enjoy football. This will help to boost football throughout the country.
At first, there will be only nine sites - one in each province. A further two sites per province will be identified later.
Following this, and depending on additional funding, the remaining sites will be identified until all 52 sites have been developed.
"For the first time in their lives, thousands of our young soccer players will be able to play the game they love on proper football pitches," said 2010 Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer, Danny Jordaan.
"This can only mean well for the quality of football and footballers that will be produced from this project."
Each of the 52 sites will have a clubhouse with a small education centre. The centres will have computers where education, life-skills, leadership and health programmes will be offered as part of youth or community development programmes.
"We call on these communities to take pride and ownership of these facilities, to look after them and to ensure that they are used to their benefit," said Jordaan.
- Mbulelo Baloyi