By FOCUS REPORTER
THE 2011 Gauteng Future Champions Talent Search, to be run in association with the Gauteng Department of Education, gets under way on February 5 with the intention of uncovering the future stars of tomorrow!
The Talent Search is open to all learners in the province aged 14-16 and organisers are hopeful of having a total of 10 000 participants from the nine events, having topped the 6 000 mark last year.
The first Talent Search will be held at the Moletsane Sports Complex on Saturday for the Johannesburg Central and Johannesburg North districts, and will run every weekend until March 19.
The finals of the Talent Search will be held during the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions tournament that will be held from March 28 to April 2, where the top three young individuals will be chosen. The winners will embark on a trip of a lifetime overseas, where they will visit and train at a top international club.
Coaches who are already working in youth development in the province will be participating after being nominated by SAFA and will run their eye over the youngsters, cutting down the numbers until we get our final three.
The Talent Search, now in its third year, saw Soweto’s Refiloe Jane win in 2009, and she, along with runners-up, Tshwane’s Frans Kagiso Kekana and Daveyton’s Sibusiso Molefe, headed off for a dream trip to Manchester, England, organised by international sports firm Global Sports International, where they trained with some of the best young players in the Under-17 age-group from around the world.
“We know that we have enormous potential in the Gauteng province and the Talent Search is about unearthing that potential and giving it a chance to shine. The 2011 Gauteng Future Champions Talent Search gives the learners of this province the chance to further their skills both on and off the pitch and we hope that this year’s edition will provide us with a number of professional players for the future,” said the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Lebogang Maile.
In 2010, the Talent Search produced winners in young rising stars Rorisang Tlhabane, Andile Nqabeni and Sboniso Mncwabe, who went to Belo Horizonte in Brazil for a week of training at the youth academies of top Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro in December.
But aside from showcasing their soccer skills, the learners who participate will also be able to take part in life skills programmes run by Grassroot Soccer. The organisation uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.
Grassroot Soccer will be providing 30 of their own trainers to be on hand to educate the youngsters at each of the nine Talent Search days.
Other supporters of the Talent Search are Pick ‘n Pay, who will provide food and drink for all the participating learners, and sportswear giant Nike, who provide the footballing gear for the coaches!
Talent search days:
February 5: Moletsane Sport Complex Johannesburg Central, Johannesburg North
February 12: Ennadale Sport Complex Johannesburg South
February 19: Kwa-Thema Sport Complex Gauteng East, Ekurhuleni South February
February 26: Marivhate Sport Complex Ekurhuleni North, Johannesburg East
March 05: Green Hills Soccer Fields Gauteng West, Johannesburg West
March 06: Old Ridge Park Sedibeng East, Sedibeng West
March 12: HM Pitje Stadium Tshwane South, Gauteng North
March 13: Soshanguve Block X Sport Complex Tshwane North, Tshwane West
March 19: Moletsane Sport Complex Semi-final
For further information, please visit www.future-champions.net