Home Sport Mamelodi Sundowns scouts show interest in local Youth Month Tournament

Mamelodi Sundowns scouts show interest in local Youth Month Tournament

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The involvement of Mamelodi Sundowns, one of South Africa’s premier football clubs, brought additional excitement and validation to the the inaugural MEKAN Group Youth Month Tournament .

Seen, back (from left): Seabata Makhele (Sol Plaatje Masters Football League chairperson), George Morekisi (provincial talent scout for Mamelodi Sundowns), Simon Blangwe (Sundowns coach), Kenny Makwene, and Themba Nguni (coach and legend for Sundowns). Front (from left): Mzwandile Mgoma, Paulo Cardoso (head of academy for Sundowns), Collin Bosman (Sol Plaatje LFA chairperson), and Tera Maliwa (scout for Sundowns). Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE SOL PLAATJE Local Football Association (SPLFA), in collaboration with Mekan Group, successfully launched the inaugural Mekan Group Youth Month Tournament over the long weekend of June 15-17.

This vibrant event, which promises to become a staple in the local football calendar, aims to foster youth development and community engagement throughout the Sol Plaatje area. All games were held at the Galeshewe Stadium and the FNB Astro Turf, drawing significant local attention and participation.

SPLFA chairperson Collin Bosman expressed his enthusiasm and gratitude for the partnership with Mekan Group, which has committed to supporting the tournament for the next three years.

This partnership ensures that a floating trophy will be awarded annually across various divisions, covering all jurisdictions within the Sol Plaatje Municipality, including Greenpoint, Roodepan, Ritchie, Platfontein, Riverton, and Galeshewe.

“It was a very successful tournament as far as we are concerned,” Bosman told the DFA. “It was played over three weeks during the knockout stages, and this weekend, the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals were held.

“This is a big project for us and has been long-awaited. We have been knocking on the doors of corporate sponsors to come in and support football. So this is the first of many events in our football calendar, and we want to expand this tournament to the Easter Tournament next year,” he said.

The tournament attracted a considerable crowd, and this strong community support highlights the local enthusiasm for football and the potential for future growth.

The involvement of Mamelodi Sundowns, one of South Africa’s premier football clubs, brought additional excitement and validation to the event.

“It (a tournament like this) has been a long vision of the SPLFA, and it was superseded by the Mamelodi Sundowns visit … here at the FNB artificial turf, who came down and did an assessment for us on what they call talent identification,” Bosman added.

“Lots of football was played, and some players were selected for Sundowns to come and have a look at the players we have. Sundowns is interested in how the SPLFA is doing things and the talent we have at the moment.”

Sundowns’ Head of Academy, Paulo Cardoso, shared his insights with the DFA, saying, “We brought a provincial scout to the Northern Cape to identify new raw talent. During the training session, our scout shortlisted some players to assess the talent that was available.

“We then selected three of the players to take part in the Under-14 and Under-15 trials at the Mamelodi Sundowns Academy.”

Cardoso emphasised the importance of seeking talent nationwide, not just in major urban centres like Gauteng or Cape Town.

“There is definitely some talent here, but we need to get the cream of the crop, and we cannot promise that they will be signed. But there are some boys who have talent in the Northern Cape.

“Our strategy is to develop South African football through Mamelodi Sundowns Academy, and to do that, we need to have the best talent with us.”

The SPLFA’s mission to identify and nurture local talent is already showing results. Bosman proudly highlighted the success of local soccer player Emile Witbooi, who rose through the SPLFA ranks to play for Cape Town City.

“Our mandate as the SPLFA is to identify talent and then produce it. If you look at local soccer player Emile Witbooi, who comes from the SPLFA ranks and now plays for Cape Town City, and other players who come from here, we are identifying them and helping them to be seen.

“We are excited that Sundowns scouted three Under-15 boys; this means that what we are doing is working. We are not just developing talent; we have become a feeder association where talent is given the opportunity to reach new heights.”

The potential partnership with Mamelodi Sundowns is particularly promising.

Discussions are under way about the possibility of an agreement for Sundowns to get involved in the annual inter-LFA tournaments. This collaboration could provide more opportunities for local players to be scouted and developed by one of the country’s top football academies.

With all this happening during the tournament, it’s clear that the inaugural Mekan Group Youth Month Tournament is a significant milestone for the SPLFA and the broader Sol Plaatje community.

With the support of Mekan Group and potential collaborations with clubs like Mamelodi Sundowns showing interest, the future looks exceptionally bright for young footballers in the region.

As the SPLFA continues to nurture and showcase local talent, the tournament is set to become a cornerstone of youth football development, bringing hope and opportunity to aspiring players across the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

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