By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
SOWETO Football Association (SFA) is in cloud nine after one of their financial backers, Putco bankrolled the association with a staggering R160 000.
This presentation was done in a glittering function at the Nike Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto, wherein the PUTCO Under-15 Soccer Challenge which marks its tenth year was launched.
SFA chairman, Phil Mogodi was over the moon about the latest development, saying it will help them unlock the new talent in their area of operation.
“There is enormous talent in South Africa, which we hope to help unlock with the 2011 PUTCO U15 Soccer Challenge. We, at the Soweto Football Association, are proud to be hosting this tournament with our partners in PUTCO and be part of the unearthing of our raising and future stars” said Mogodi.
The tournament which was inaugurated back in 2002 with as little amount as R7 000 from PUTCO has since produced a number of quality players such as Thulani Serero who has had a good career at Ajax Cape Town before his recent move to the Cape based side’s sister club, Ajax Amsterdam this season, Thulani Hlatswayo (Ajax Cape Town and Siyabonga Zulu (Orlando Pirates).
A total of 350 Under 15 teams will be participating from all eight of the Soweto Football Association’s zones. Each zone will produce one winner after a series of elimination rounds, following which the 8 teams will play in a knock out format in a one day festival at the Nike Football Training Centre on November 26.
The PUTCO U15 Soccer Challenge began with the purpose of taking football development to another level and to further strengthen the relationship between PUTCO and the commuters who are also football supporters.
Since the tournament’s inception in 2002, the PUTCO U15 Soccer Challenge has produced over 30 players who are currently displaying their skills in various professional leagues around the country such as the Premier Soccer League (PSL), National First Division, Vodacom League, Castle Regional League and the Soweto Football Association’s Premier League.
The 2011 PUTCO Soccer Challenge will produce a new title holder when the finals take place on 26th November. The tournament will be held for the second time at the newly renovated Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto, which saw Diepkloof Hellenic F.C crowned champions in 2010.
Since 2002, the event has seen many moments of brilliance with the inaugural winners Diepkloof Cosmos F.C., Protea Movers F.C. in 2003, Senaoane Gunners F.C. in 2004, Zola Lazio F.C. in 2005, Orlando All Nations F.C. in 2006, Dlamini X1 Experience F.C. in 2007, Meadowlands Diamond City F.C. in 2008 and Diepkloof Newcastle F.C. in 2009.
Though the PUTCO Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Foundation we turn dreams into reality by empowering communities to create stars that help brighten the road to the future.