Developing the standard of soccer through schools tournaments

Africa is a football-crazy continent, with fanatical supporters and players. On any given day in every corner of the continent (school grounds, streets and open spaces – makeshift pitches), you will find young people showing off their skills.
For this reason, soccer is like a religion in the African continent. Therefore, stakeholders should use schools soccer tournaments to cultivate talent and offer school kids the opportunity to indulge in their passion in a structured and organised manner.
The establishment of various school leagues will not only promote health and wellness of talented kids but can be used to promote awareness programmes that can help the kids in the future.
Furthermore, premier league teams should make time to watch these tournaments since they provide an oasis of talent.
“I think there is a need for premier soccer league teams to make time for junior soccer tournaments. There is a lot of untapped talent and it is from such tournaments that we begin to see future stars emerging,” says Johannes Ngodzo, former Zimbabwe national team midfielder.
To improve the overall standard of living in African communities, the prize money should go towards enhancing academic and sport needs of talented players. The money should also be utilised in improving sports facilities.
Improving the facilities and raising the profile of schools tournaments will motivate talented players to take part since it is every kid’s wish to be associated with prestigious events and to be successful in life.
“Every young player will always wish to take part in schools soccer tournaments. I am encouraging youngsters, who are going to play in the tournament this year, to go out there and enjoy themselves.
“They would not know who will be watching them. But they must not put themselves under unnecessary pressure,” asserts Kudakwashe Mahachi, a product of the tournament.
Stakeholders in the sporting industry, especially coaches, should always seek to grace such tournaments. It is a noble idea for coaches to attend all the soccer tournaments in order to identify talent and effectively scout for sprouting talent; they should attend all matches not finals only since there are some exceptionally talented teams that unfortunately do not make it to the finals.
Football federations and teams should also work hand in glove with sponsors to support school teams in the quest to produce future national team players. Professional players from well-established teams should grace these tournaments and use them as platforms to motivate young players to take football seriously.
Private organisations in countries within the African continent should show their dedication to youth development and its meaningful impact in African society by supporting and encouraging school soccer. They should use these tournaments to promote peace, social cohesion and unite the continent across race, gender, language, ethnicity and a number of challenges facing society.
Series of schools soccer competitions can help the continent to develop the level and standard of soccer. Accordingly, countries in the African continent must build on schools soccer tournaments and strive to develop into one of the best soccer playing continents in the world.

July 2013
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