By FOCUS REPORTER
The first stop on the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions Talent Search proved a huge success this past weekend as over 600 learners entered the programme in search of fame and fortune!
The event, which is being run in conjunction with the Gauteng Department of Education, took place at the Moletsane Sport Complex on Saturday, where learners from the Johannesburg Central and Johannesburg North districts took part.
There were 10 Gauteng-based football coaches, who work in youth and football development, on hand to lead the skills assessments for the participating youngsters, as well as a total of 45 trainers from the life skills programme Grassroot Soccer, who mentored the learners on the dangers of HIV/Aids.
The children were transported in from Soweto, Eldorado Park, Lenasia, Southern Suburbs, Diepsloot, Cosmo City, Westbury, Randburg and Riverlea. Once participants were registered, they were put into groups of 25, after which they underwent soccer skills tests and life skills tests.
They were put through their paces by the coaches, and as much as there was a serious side to the Talent Search, it was easy to see that the youngsters got a lot of enjoyment from their exploits on the field.
For the life skills programme, all participants went through a 45-minute curriculum course, which taps the power and popularity of football to break stigmas, dramatically increase awareness and change behaviours to combat HIV/Aids.
Other supporters of the Talent Search are Pick ‘n Pay, who provided food and drink for all the participating learners on the day, and sportswear giant Nike, who provided the footballing gear for the coaches.
The finals of the Talent Search will be held during the 2011 Gauteng Future Champions tournament that will take place 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.
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.
Remaining talent search days:
12/02/11 Ennadale Sport Complex Johannesburg South
19/02/11 Kwa Thema Sport Complex Gauteng East, Ekurhuleni South
26/02/11 Marivhate Sport Complex Ekurhuleni North, Johannesburg East
05/03/11 Green Hills Soccer Fields Gauteng West, Johannesburg West
06/03/11 Old Ridge Park Sedibeng East, Sedibeng West
12/03/11 HM Pitje Stadium Tshwane South, Gauteng North
13/03/11 Soshanguve Block X Sport Complex Tshwane North, Tshwane West
19/03/11 Moletsane Sport Complex Semi-final
For further information, please visit www.future-champions.net