When Dr Danny Jordaan took over as President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) last year, he made it clear that one of the top priorities in attempting to grow the game in the outlaying areas was to improve development structures at all levels.
And so the prestigious Durban Under-19 International Football Tournament, organised in partnership with SAFA, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and eThekwini Municipality, is a big step towards creating sustainable, quality junior tournaments that will expose South African talent to top international teams.
Dr Jordaan pulled no punches in his assessment of SAFA’s development aims as they were then, and vowed to push for a big improvement.
“For South Africa to again realise a g Bafana Bafana, we have to beef up our development structures and tournaments such as the Durban Under-19 International Football event go a long way in realising this cherished goal. The cornerstone of any g national team is junior structures and my executive will leave no stone unturned in unearthing talent from every corner of South Africa,” said Dr Jordaan.
SAFA’s vision is clear – create g, competitive, annual junior tournaments and league competitions and make sure that the talent that is unearthed at them flows through the correct nurturing process to give the young players the best opportunity of becoming a professional footballer.
Dr Jordaan said on his election as SAFA President that the Association would invest in development programmes and he has held true to his word with the partnership in the Durban Under-19 International Football Tournament.
SAFA have also recently held highly successful Under 17 and 19 national championships which have helped identify players for various junior national teams. The Under-13 and Under-15 leagues for both boys and girls are up and running in all 52 Regions.
Although the Durban Under-19 International Football Tournament is not a league competition, it does bring some of the top junior talent in the world to South African shores. This provides much needed international exposure, which assists in the complete development of a player.
The South African Under-19 side will compete under the vastly experienced coach Shakes Mashaba, while there will also be a team from the highly-rated KwaZulu-Natal Academy.
They will face-off against South American giants Boca Juniors (Argentina) and Santos (Brazil), as well as Everton (England), Feyenoord (Netherlands), Benfica (Portugal) and Roma (Italy).
The Durban Under-19 International Football Tournament preliminary games will commence on the 31st July, with the finals scheduled for August 9 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Source : South African Football Association