THE draw for the football teams contesting the 2012 SAB League was conducted yesterday, at SAB World of Beer. The showdown that will determine who will be crowned national champions and promoted up to the Second Division, is scheduled to take place from June 10-17.
The national event will feature nine Provincial squads and an invitational team from USSA (University Sports South Africa). The tournament will consist of two groups of five teams each, playing each other in a round robin format. The top two in each group at the end of the pool stages will then advance to the semi-finals, where they will battle it out for a place in the finals and ultimately the crown of 2012 Champions.
The President of SAFA, Mr Kirsten Nematandani said: “The SAB League is an integral component in the structure of football in our country. The lower leagues play a very important role in establishing a solid foundation upon which success can be built.”
The formation of SAB League more than a decade ago stems from shared vision of SAB and SAFA to develop football amongst youth at grassroots level in South Africa. It is also a key diversion programme that keeps youth away from drugs, alcohol abuse and crime. The SAB league has acted as springboard for a number of South Africa’s current football stars, including Reneilwe Letsholonyane of Kaizer Chiefs, Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates and Ayanda Dlamini of AmaZulu, to name but a few.
“SAB’s responsibility as a good corporate citizen is to provide meaningful opportunities for the youth of our country in order for them to improve their lives and to ensure their successful and sustainable future,” says Dr Vincent Maphai, SAB Director Corporate Affairs and Transformation.
“We are looking forward to an exciting week-long of football featuring some of the most talented young players showcasing their talent. We wish each and every team the best of luck as they thrive for the coveted title.”
The opening and closing games will be played at Kanyamazane Stadium, Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, with the rest at Ngonyama Lodge Sports Grounds.
Jele, who was in attendance, said: “I received my first real training as a footballer in the Mpumalanga SAB League with Walter Stars and that set me on the path to play in the PSL. The training and mentorship I received in those early days developed me into the footballer I am today. I am convinced that around the country we have enormous talent just waiting to be discovered and set on the right path. The SAB League is vital to the future of our football because it is within this competition that we will find our future Bafana Bafana stars. We must do everything we can to give them the opportunity to showcase their skills and move up the ladder of South African football. But it all starts here.”
Partnering with the SAB League is Shoes Moshoeu who understands the importance of discipline in sports and particularly at the development level encouraged the participants by saying: “Being a footballer is not just about turning up on match day and kicking a ball. The training has to be right and the off-field focus must be there.
The SAB League gives up-and-coming youngsters the platform to show their worth, but is also a training ground in itself for a professional career. Here you should learn what it takes to be a professional, so that if the time comes where you do make it to the PSL, you understand what is required. That is what every SAB League side should be looking to provide their players”.
The SAB League provides opportunities to identify and then nurture football talent and also provide participation at other levels, including the national team, the Premier Soccer League and National First Division teams.
Studies have shown that sport amongst youth can help instil in them a sense of empowerment and belonging, increases their self-esteem and can have an impact on reducing crime and other social ills.
1st place position: R20 000.
Player of the Tournament: R10 000
Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament: R 5 000
Coach of the Tournament: R 5 000
Referee of the Tournament: R 5 000
Assistant Referee of the Tournament: R 5 000
Man of the Match at each game: R1000 per match