The Spur-grown concept was launched in 2005 as 12 one-day coaching clinics with the key objective to uplift local communities through the beautiful game of football.
The first pilot league in partnership with Let’s Play, was hosted in Sandton in 2009 and was followed by the hugely successful 2010 league in Soweto, while the one-day concept continued to run across the country.
The league was expanded to Cape Town in 2011 and rolled out to Durban and Port Elizabeth this year with events hosted in Umlazi and Motherwell recently. Over the past five years, the league has touched the lives of more than 30 000 children.
Due to the sheer size of Soweto, league events have been targeted at specific regions of which Meadowlands was the first in 2010, followed by Dobsonville in 2011 and Orlando in 2012.
Learners from ten Primary Schools in Orlando (Shomang Primary School, Sapebuso Primary School, Thulasizwe Primary School, Mzamo Primary School, Mbuyisa Makhubo Primary School, Thabisang Primary School, Thabang Primary School, Dzata Primary School, Mzimvubu Primary School, Mawila Primary School) will battle it out in this year’s league.
The one-day activation provided the perfect platform to teach children both life skills and soccer skills. A series of introduction drills teaching players how to head, pass and strike in a fun-filled environment were part of the line-up.
The Spur Masidlale Soccer programme, which is recognised as one of the leading youth soccer development initiatives in the country today, utilises local community couches in each region.
To ensure quality control and effective mentorship, these coaches first attended coaching clinics before leading the youngster through the one-day activations programme.
Coaches for the launch day event were predominantly qualified coaches from Soweto where they are presently involved in various coaching and development programmes.
Coaches received a coaching manual illustrating ten drills including the pull-back cross, heading for goal, receiving a pass, passing, chest trapping, coordination, dribbling, shooting, control and goalkeeping. The manual ensures standardised coaching methods and equips players with basic skills across the board.
Youngsters also had the opportunity to meet former Bafana players Cyril Nzama and MacDonal Mukansi as well as Banyana Banyana player Desiree Ellis, who is the ambassador for the Spur Masidlale Soccer programme and travels the country to assist with both life and soccer skills training.
According to Ellis, she has spotted great potential amongst the young soccer enthusiasts. She does however stress that the league is not a talent search, but a vehicle to provide children with vital skill sets.
“Too many of our former soccer heroes were not prepared for the hardship of life after soccer and are struggling today. It is crucial that the youth understands the importance of a good education and also that it takes commitment and hard work to be successful in life,” says Ellis.
Regional activations will be followed by a weekly meeting over a nine-week period. Ten boys’ and ten girls’ between the ages of 9 and 13 in each region will battle it out over a 10-week period. Each team will field seven players plus three substitutes. Three points will be awarded for a win and two points for a draw, while a loss receives zero points.
The winning team in each region can look forward to a special VIP PSL experience. Not only will they be treated to a special Spur lunch, but they will also attend a PSL game as team mascots.