Safa's Under-17 tourney celebrate its 20th anniversary in style

By FOCUS REPORTER

South Africa’s young talent will be on display when nine provinces and an additional team from the South African Schools Football Association (Sasfa) battle it out for the annual Safa Under 17 Championship.

The week-long tournament which marks its 20th Anniversary returns to headquarters of football having travelled around the country over the last few years. It will be hosted by SAFA Johannesburg, starting on Tuesday, December 7-12.

The opening and group stage matches will be played at the Nike Sports Grounds (formerly Safa Development Centre) in Klipspruit near Pimville, with the Eldorado Park Stadium hosting the semi-final and final matches.

Unlike in previous years when arrival and registration was done at hotels, this year that process will take place at the home of football, Safa House. This is done so as to acquaint all the participants of the tournament with the football offices and the FNB Stadium. A tour has also been organised to take the teams around the venue of the opening and closing matches of Africa’s first World Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Safa Under 17 Championship is the oldest and most consistent tournament of SAFA, having been first played as the Coca Cola Under 16 Interprovincial in June of 1991 in Durban. The competition was first played three months after the unity of Safa. It was used as the first real interracial test to see if the unity could hold following the integration of SASA (Soccer Association of South Africa), SASF (South African Soccer Federation) and FASA (Football Association of South Africa) to form one football body, SAFA.

The tournament has grown from strength to strength from humble beginnings. In the first edition in Durban in 1991 it featured former Bafana Bafana player Quinton Fortune, and has over the years produced many a star.

Since 2007 the Under 17 Championship has been bankrolled by SAFA, thus keeping up with the tradition and the consistency.

SASFA are the 2009 champions having defeated KwaZulu Natal two nil (2-0) at the 19th edition which was hosted by SAFA Siyanda in Upington, Northern Cape. The North West Province took the title two years ago, while Free State was crowned champions in 2007.

“We are delighted as the South African Football Association to be part of this prestigious tournament – the oldest in the Association. This tournament is rich in history having been used as a test for our re-unification, and it has stood the test of time. And to show how much it means to us, we as an Association have been running it for the past four years. We have said before that development is crucial and important to us, and we have indicated it by financing this competition,” said Sam Masitenyana, Chairman of Safa’s competitions Committee.

Safa’s technical director, Serame Letsoaka believes the future of this country’s football prowess lies in such competitions.

“If we want to prosper as a nation, we need to nurture our young ones, and it is at such tournaments where we can gauge how the future of our senior national team is. We cannot focus on development and yet ignore the grassroots. When these players come into the Under 17 level, they should be almost ready to play big league football, this competition should not be used as a starting point when we can do that at your Under 12s and 13s. Having travelled around the country to such tournaments, I can attest that we have great talent in this country but it needs to be used every week for it to grow, these boys shouldn’t wait for tournament such as these before they can play – we should try and integrate them into the Premier Soccer League,” said Letsoaka.

Below are the results of the draw and the upcoming fixtures:

Day One: Tuesday 07 December 2010

 

 

Match

 

Time

 

Team A

 

Vs

 

Team B

 

Venue

 

1

 

10H00

 

A3- Free State

 

vs

 

A4- Western Cape

 

Nike Center

 

1

 

11H30

 

B3- Limpopo

 

Vs

 

B4- North West

 

Nike Center

 

2

 

13H00

 

B1- KZN

 

Vs

 

B2- Northern Cape

 

Nike Center

 

2

 

15H00

 

A1- Gauteng

 

Vs

 

A2- SASFA

 

Nike Center

 

Day Two: Wednesday 08 December 2010

 

 

Match

 

Time

 

Team A

 

Vs

 

Team B

 

Venue

 

09H00 – 11H00 Life Skills – SAFA House

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

13H00

 

A1- Gauteng

 

vs

 

A4- Western Cape

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

4

 

13H00

 

A5- Eastern Cape

 

Vs

 

A2- SASFA

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

3

 

14H30

 

B1- KZN

 

Vs

 

B4- North West

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

4

 

14H30

 

B5- Mpumalanga

 

Vs

 

B2- Northern Cape

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

Day Three Thursday 09 December 2010

 

 

Match

 

Time

 

Team A

 

Vs

 

Team B

 

Venue

 

5

 

10H00

 

B5- Mpumalanga

 

Vs

 

B3- Limpopo

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

6

 

10H00

 

B4- North West

 

Vs

 

B2- Northern Cape

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

5

 

11H30

 

A5- Eastern Cape

 

Vs

 

A3- Free State

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

6

 

11H30

 

A4- Western Cape

 

Vs

 

A2- SASFA

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

7

 

14H00

 

B1- KZN

 

Vs

 

B5- Mpumalanga

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

8

 

14H00

 

B2- Northern Cape

 

Vs

 

B3- Limpopo

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

7

 

15H30

 

A1- Gauteng

 

Vs

 

A5- Eastern Cape

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

8

 

15H30

 

A2- SASFA

 

Vs

 

A3- Free State

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

Day Four: Friday 10 December 2010

 

 

Match

 

Time

 

Team A

 

Vs

 

Team B

 

Venue

 

09H00 – 11H00 Educational Tour at Maropeng Heritage Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

13H00

 

B3- Limpopo

 

Vs

 

B1- KZN

 

Nike Center -Field A

 

10

 

13H00

 

B4- North West

 

Vs

 

B5- Mpumalanga

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

9

 

14H30

 

A3- Free State

 

Vs

 

A1- Gauteng

 

Nike Center- Field A

 

10

 

14H30

 

A4- Western Cape

 

Vs

 

A5- Eastern Cape

 

Nike Center- Field B

 

Day Five Saturday 11 December 2010

 

 

14H30

 

Semi- Finals: Winner Group A vs Runner Up Group B

 

Eldorado Park Stadium

 

16H00

 

Semi- Finals: Winner Group B vs Runner Up Group A

 

Eldorado Park Stadium

 

Day Six: Sunday 12 December 2010

 

 

09H00

 

3rd & 4th Place play-offs

 

Eldorado Park Stadium

 

10H30

 

Finals

 

Eldorado Park Stadium

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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