THE inaugural Lucas Radebe Football Festival was launched at SAFA House today. The event will take place from 3 – 7 October 2011 at the University of Johannesburg Campus in Soweto and is the culmination of a longstanding relationship between the bank and the South African football icon.
The tournament will cater for boys and girls from the under 15 age group and will consist of a development leg which includes development teams from the Football First Programme and an international leg which includes boys’ and girls’ teams from South Africa, Namibia and Zambia. During the course of the festival the players will also attend life skills sessions presented by the Macsteel Maestros Programme.
The FNB Football First Programme has been running with great success since May 2011 in Pietermaritzburg, Mthatha, Thohoyandou, George and Kimberley at the FNB artificial pitches. Three coaches (two male and one female) were identified and trained per pitch and have been responsible for presenting various weekly training sessions and two festivals per pitch over the past 5 months. The coaches have now identified their boys’ and girls’ development squads who will compete against each other in the inaugural Lucas Radebe Festival. Development festivals were also presented in Namibia and Zambia as part of the FNB 2010 Legacy Programme.
“Lucas has been an inspiration to the young players who have benefitted from the various football sponsorships of the bank for the past decade. Now that we are celebrating the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World through the FNB 2010 Legacy Programme, we also thought it fit to celebrate the career of one of South Africa’s most successful football icons by dedicating this festival to his amazing career.” says Bernice Samuels, Chief Marketing Officer of FNB.
Lucas Radebe is excited about the festival.
”Throughout my football career and specifically whilst playing abroad, I remained committed to ploughing back what I had learnt here at home and abroad into the development of South African football, especially at grassroots level. This tournament is the start of my commitment to doing so and I thank FNB for partnering with me in such an important project. I am humbled by the fact that FNB decided to dedicate the festival to my career and it just reminds me how blessed I have been in having a successful football career,” said Radebe.
“We are purposely combining a development festival with an international festival. The development squads could very well produce international players in future and we would like the development players to be exposed to the match protocols involved in an international match. They will also be exposed to a level of football that they can aspire to, which should motivate them even more to train hard and to persevere.” says Serame Letsoaka, Director of Development at SAFA.
Early in 2012 Lucas Radebe will also host a Soweto Schools’ Football Tournament where young talent from local schools will be identified to form a Soweto Schools’ development team. This development team will compete against a composite team selected from the inaugural Lucas Radebe Football Festival.
“I hope that all the youngsters who have been touched by the FNB Football First Programme will take with them the experience and exposure they have gained through the development programme and make a positive difference in their lives.” concludes Radebe