THE PHUMELELA-SSU YOUTH ACADEMY
- a winning partnership for over 14 years!
Phumelela’s association with three-time PSL Champions and 2016 Nedbank Cup Champions SuperSport United traces back to 2004, when the horseracing and sports tote betting company sponsored the SuperSport United Football Club in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Later Phumelela switched the sponsorship to the SuperSport United Youth Academy as such an initiative was more in keeping with Phumelela’s goal to assist in developing the youth of South Africa, whilst simultaneously maximising the natural synergies between the exciting worlds of horseracing and soccer.
The objective of the academy is to assist young aspirant soccer stars to maximise their footballing potential, while simultaneously ensuring they develop into responsible citizens with an education to fall back onto should they fail to realise their dreams of playing soccer professionally.
Academy candidates, aged 12 years and above, are scouted from around South Africa through South African Football Association (SAFA) and SASFA tournaments, friendlies, league fixtures and trials.
They play for the Academy until they have matriculated and thereafter will be signed by SuperSport United should they meet the talent criteria. Those not signed by the senior team can pursue their desired careers as professionals with other clubs.
Phumelela’s sponsorship plays a key role in SuperSport United’s work in the community and scouting plans, facilitating the club’s scouting programme in looking for talent in areas that no one else visits in a bid to find soccer gems.
Selected players are invited to the Academy for intensive training and assessment in school holidays and a possible place in the Academy intake for the upcoming season.
The academy provides players with a free formal education. To further develop their football talent and equip them for the demands of modern-day life and a professional football career , players enjoy life-skills education as well as access to world-class training and medical facilities. Players who excel are given opportunities to travel abroad to Holland , Portugal and the UK for training opportunities with elite European teams and Academies.
SuperSport United's international partnerships have afforded academy players opportunities down the years that they could only have dreamt of. From 2001 till 2007 SuperSport United had a very successful partnership with Feyenoord Rotterdam from Holland.
From 2007 to 2014 the academy partnered with Tottenham Hotspur FC and former SuperSport United captain Bongani Khumalo (a three-time Absa Premiership winner) was one such player who thrived under this exchange programme opportunity and was signed by Spurs on a four- year deal.
In March 2016 SuperSport United entered into a formal three- year partnership with the Royal Dutch Football Association ( KNVB ). This will ensure a strong Dutch technical direction to the Academy training regime and afford all SuperSport United coaches opportunities to attain a UEFA coaching license from Junior Coaching License to Pro-license.
In South Africa , the club has a formal partnership with Stellenbosch University, which offers six scholarships for Western Cape players aged from 18 to 20 wanting to further their studies whilst playing football. The University also has one of the best High-Performance Centres in the country, allowing the medical staff to continuously improve their knowledge.
The SuperSport United Academy previously only had under-13 to under-19 teams, but since January 2015 the Club has extended its Academy to begin at under-eight level and continue through to the Multichoice Diski Challenge level, which is the PSL's Reserve League.
In the past, the majority of the players were housed and attended Rosina Sedibane Sport School. This fruitful relationship saw the academy players win several tournaments with great prize money for the school, as well as winning overseas trips to the Schools World Cup in Turkey in 2009, Brazil in 2011 and France in 2013.
The South African Under -17 team, which represented South Africa for the first time at the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile, contained seven players in the starting line-up from SuperSport United.
The Academy Under-19 team won the Metropolitan Premier Cup Champions in April 2016 and of the 35 players from throughout the country shortlisted for the African Youth Championships, eleven were from SuperSport United.
To further compliment the work being done at the academy, Phumelela and SuperSport United join forces in an annual community soccer project, which gives youngsters with natural footballing talent a chance to break into the big time.
The project also aims to increase the level of soccer coaching skills at selected schools through interaction with school coaches and the provision of coaching manuals and other coaching aids. The climax of the project is a four-team tournament that includes a Phumelela Select XI.
The Academy has produced two players currently playing top-flight football in Europe - Kermit Erasmus at Rennes in France and Kamohelo Mokotjo at FC Twente in Holland.
The SuperSport United first-team squad of 28 has seven players who have graduated from the Academy and there are currently over 60 players playing in the PSL and NFD that have been produced through the Phumelela-SuperSport United partnership, ensuring that the reach and benefit of the sponsorship extends country wide and across the professional landscape. It’s so much more than just a one-club benefactor.
The Phumelela-SuperSport United Academy continues to be a glorious role model of the positive impact of a true sporting partnership. Through inspiring, empowering, educating and creating opportunities for young footballers Phumelela and SuperSport United continue to change lives and set a benchmark for genuine contribution to communities by companies that truly care.