The SAFA Development Agency (SDA) is teaming up with Totalsports to build a SAFA Safe-Hub in Alexandra in Johannesburg. SAFA Safe-Hubs promote a comprehensive approach to youth-focused football and social development in South Africa, creating a viable and attractive option for young people to get involved in football and a range of life skills programmes. Modeled on the successful Safe-Hub in Cape Town established and run by Amandla EduFootball, an award winning NGO, SAFA has a vision to erect and operate one SAFA Safe-Hub in each of its 400 Local Football Associations and Regions.
Thanks to a R8.5 million grant from Totalsports and the donation of the land by the City of Johannesburg, the SDA is building a SAFA Safe-Hub, consisting of an artificial football pitch and youth development centre, complete with solar powered flood lights and secuity. The aim of the SAFA Safe-Hub is to support high impact, proven youth development interventions and talent hubs, through partnerships with local schools, clubs and NGOs, using football as a platform for coaching, training, life skills and mentoring. The programme will strengthen the standard of football in South Africa by encouraging mass participation at grassroots level and providing pathways towards professional development.
SAFA Safe-Hubs will provide a comprehensive, integrated set of youth development services in collaboration with the local community, using football as the key driver of engagement and retention. It is envisioned that each centre acts as a multi-purpose community hub where people can access a range of education, health and enterprise development services, providing a viable and attractive alternative for young people to get involved in positive activities. We anticipate that the Safe-Hub will be used by up to 2,500 young people per week.
In addition to the building of the facility, Totalsports will invest a further R5.4 million over the next 5 years for a Centre Administrator, a SAFA Regional Technical Officer and nine Local Technical Officers in the greater Johannesburg area. The sponsorship will also cover a talent identification programme; U13 and U15 talent scouting events; three Grassroots Festivals; the training of 360 D license coaches, 180 C license coaches, 30 B license coaches and 180 referees in the region. There will be a strong focus on girls’ football through the development of U13 and U15 girls’ leagues.
Dr Robin Petersen, SAFA Development Agency CEO, said: “We are delighted at this significant commitment made by South Africa’s leading Sports Retailer to support comprehensive football and youth development in Johannesburg. Together with Totalsports, we are going to transform the face of football in the greater Johannesburg Region.”
Dr Danny Jordaan, President of SAFA, stated: “We welcome Totalsports into the family of football in South African, and thank them for this significant investment. This initiative will go a long way to assisting us to achieve our football development goals of Vision 2022, and help us to build the structures of football that will enable our national teams to achieve our goal – Always top 3 in Africa, and top 20 in the World”.
Mr Anthony Reeves, the President of SAFA Johannesburg and a member of the SAFA National Executive Committee, thanked Totalsports for this investment, and undertook to ensure that with the support from the SAFA Development Agency that goals of the programe would be achieved.
Speaking on behalf of the City of Johannesburg, MMC for Economic Development, Cll Ruby Mathang committed the City to partnering with the SAFA Development Agency in its plan to roll-out 12 of these SAFA Safe-Hubs throughout the city. “We are fully committed to this project, and look forward to to working with SAFA and the Development Agency to make this happen. We are always grateful when we can do this in partnership with the Private Sector, and so thank Totalsports for this significant investment”.
Ms Carmen Garzouzie, Managing Director of Totalsports, said: “Totalsports, as part of TFG (The Foschini Group); is committed to improving the lives of everyone in this country. This project is a strategic partnership to develop the young people of Alexandra through access to sport facilities; coaching as well as life skills support and training. We look forward to working with the SAFA Development Agency and other stakeholders in delivering the Safe-Hub and realizing the development and success of our talented youth.”