A partnership between Madibaz Football Club and Ndzondelelo High School is paying dividends after the Nelson Mandela University U16 side won three titles this year.
Champions in the Mayoral Cup earlier this season, Madibaz U16 also won two Port Elizabeth Football Association titles in the league and knockout competitions.
The university also support an U18 team and Madibaz football manager Mark Tommy said their aim was to grow their own Soccer School of Excellence.
“To achieve this, we have joined with Ndzondelelo High by adopting two teams, which participate as Madibaz in the junior leagues.”
As there were limitations in funding to attract and retain the city’s top football talent, he said their key objective with Ndzondelelo was to encourage the pupils to become Mandela University students.
He said they recruited only from Ndzondelelo, which added value to the school’s extramural curriculum.
Tommy said the Madibaz club also provided coaching opportunities.
“We have focused on the skills development of the coaches recruited by teacher Dumisa Thys.
“Former pupils such as Phumelelo Mvunyiswa and Asandile Gomba have worked as volunteer coaches and have become proficient through coaching and referees’ courses,” he said.
Tommy said the success of the team and the programme bode well for Madibaz football, but admitted they also faced several issues, such as professional clubs wanting to recruit young players.
He felt, however, that there would be benefits ahead, especially considering that compliance with the Safa Statutes and Vision 2022 required all clubs to have at least two junior teams.
“What Madibaz Football have been doing for the past five years has been visionary and has the potential to reshape the way we look at junior football in the local associations.”