Long before the dawn of South Africa hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the Transnet Foundation recognised the abundance of football talent amongst its youth. The company initiated the Rural and Farm Schools Programme at 100 schools in five provinces, and opened the doors of the SAFA/Transnet Football School of Excellence in Johannesburg. Here, 120 young boys are part of an academic institution with a difference; when school is out, they are coached in soccer so that, post their high school careers, they can venture into a professional career in football.
These programmes, which are closely managed, have created a deep well of opportunities for the less privileged, and brought about a window through which they have come to realise their potential and continue to grow and nurture it.
We are in no doubt that, through our Sport Portfolio, the Transnet Foundation has tirelessly given, and will continue to give young sportsmen and women in rural communities a great opportunity to fulfil their dreams.
Around 120 boys attend our SAFA/Transnet Football School of Excellence where, along with academic and holistic life skills education, they are also given specialised training to develop their natural football talent.
The Foundation realises that talent is not the only factor that determines whether our potential future stars will achieve success. Without opportunities to develop their talent and to be discovered, the journey from grassroots to glory is unlikely to happen. This is the case for many talented young people in the rural and underprivileged areas.
Our Rural and Farm Schools Sport Programme aims to change this through the provision of sport training and infrastructure in rural areas to help our youth reach their true sporting potential.
Youngsters Compete During Sport Tournament
The Rural and Farm Schools Programme enables rural youth to participate in sport at a highly competitive level and to receive the high-performance training to improve their natural talent. This project does not only provide sports equipment and kit for the participating schools, but also trains coaches and officials in the netball, soccer and athletics arena.Along with this, it organises committee members who are trained in event management for regional and national tournaments.
Children with natural talent are given a fair chance at reaching their goals through our training camps. Within the area of soccer, our project collaborates with the SAFA/Transnet Football School of Excellence and scouts for new talent at the rural tournaments. With the right encouragement, support and development, many of these promising young learners will be able to qualify for bursaries to further their education and be able to earn a good living through sport.
Through these programmes, our Foundation not only nurtures the growth of previously disadvantaged youth, but it also brings about a truly valuable community-building activity.
Netball Game During Sport Tournament
Transnet Foundation’s commitment to sports development is geared at instilling a strong sense of national pride amongst today’s youth, inspiring them to be tomorrow’s sporting stars. The primary mission is to unearth South Africa’s undiscovered sporting talent and to nurture it to the highest possible level. In so doing, the Foundation aims to make a social change in the lives of our future sporting stars, as well as in their communities.
Rural areas are in dire need of a boost in sport development programmes as they have been neglected in this sphere. Through its Sport Portfolio, the Foundation offers programmes that address this neglect. We are not only nurturing the growth of previously-disadvantaged youth, but also providing a valuable community-building activity.
Our Objectives Are:
- To identify and develop sports talent amongst rural school going youth.
- To nurture such talent towards excellence in sport.
- To invest in the SAFA/Transnet Football School of Excellence so that it develops into a talent developer of choice in South Africa.
The Two Products of The Sport Portfolio Each Achieve This:
- The Rural and Farm Schools Sport Development Programme uses sport as an agent to intervene against social problems at school level. The programmes’ main focus areas are: Development leagues, tournaments, netball coaches and umpires training, football coaches and referees training, and athletics coaches and officials’ training. All these training programmes are conducted and accredited by the relevant Sport Federations. To date, more than 60;000 youth of six provinces and 400 coaches, referees, umpires and officials have been trained.
- The SAFA/Transnet Football School of Excellence was founded in 1994 with specific emphasis on the development of youth football. The School is a haven for the youth from disadvantaged communities who are gifted in football.
Based on its own historical data, the Foundation recognises the constructive role that sport can, and does, play in the lives of young people. Furthermore, focusing the youth on sport has a positive impact on family and community stability.
The SAFA/Transnet Football School of Excellence and the Rural and Farm Schools Sport Development Programme are our two flagship projects that provide sporting opportunities to youth who fall outside of the target areas of traditional sporting bodies.
Opening Doors for Young Soccer Players at a School with a Difference
The SAFA (South African Football Association)/Transnet School of Excellence was started in 1994 with 47 learners. The school identifies talented young football players from rural and underprivileged communities and prepares them for a professional career on the football field. Each year, 120 high school boys from across South Africa attend the school, where they receive a holistic education that focuses on academic skills, life skills and football development. The school currently employs eight educators and four coaching staff.
The Foundation has made strategic investments in the SAFA/Transnet Footabll School of Excellence over the years to strengthen the opportunities provided to the learners to pursue professional sporting careers, which many of them have done with much success.
Many former students have been signed by premier soccer clubs and overseas teams and have represented Bafana Bafana, including:
- Steven Pienaar
- Bernard Parker
- Daine Klate
- Jeffrey Ntuka
- Bryce Moon
- Masilo Modubi
A Rich History of Performance and Achievements
Some of the success stories of the Rural and Farm Schools Sport Programme include:
- 2003 – 2005: Martha Moswane becomes the captain of the national senior netball team.
- 2003: One of the programme coaches is appointed as the coach of a national volleyball team travelling to Europe.
- 2004: A learner from the Eastern Cape is selected for the SuperSport PSL soccer team.
- 2007 – 2008: Five girls from different regions who play netball through the programme, are offered bursaries to study at Rosina Sedibane High School.
- 2008: A netball player from QwaQwa in the Free State receives a netball scholarship from Tshwane University of Technology.
- 2010: Three learners from Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal are selected for the Orlando Pirates Development Programme, and about 90 learners participate in the South African Local Government Association (SALGA ) Games.