Cape Town, April 30 (IANS) The South African Football Association (SAFA) has unveiled a development programme with the aim of reviving the country’s national team.
The programme, made possible through funding provided by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust, will enable SAFA to conduct tournaments among Under-13 and Under-15 Boys and Girls Leagues in all the association’s 311 Local Football Associations (LFA), reports Xinhua. The tournaments will kick-off in May this year.
In the process, 1,000 boys and 1,000 girls who show potential will be identified and put through high performance tests conducted by high performance universities.
The programme is part of the SAFA Technical Master Plan (TMP) designed to build a rich and robust talent identification and development pipeline.
“This is the first phase in the implementation of our Technical Master Plan (TMP), which is intended to enable us to reach our goal in the next decade of being consistently in the Top 3 in Africa and Top 20 in the world,” said SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani.
“The FIFA World Cup tournament, to be held in Qatar in 2022, is just under 10 years away. If our plan is to find success, it must be seen there, if not before,” said Nematandani.
SAFA hopes that the TMP would help the national team Bafana Bafana become a world force again.
Under the TMP, all the national teams would be in the top three in Africa by 2020 and inside the world’s top 20 in the longer term, according to the plan.
SAFA has been under increased pressure following a string of poor performances by the national team Bafana Bafana in the past year.
Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the second successive continental showpiece, the Africa Cup of Nations, while the junior sides, U23 and U20 teams, failed in their respective Olympic qualifiers and regional COSAFA (Council of Southern African Football Associations) Championship tournaments.
Bafana Bafana reached its highest ranking of 16th in the world in the 1990s, but since then it has steadily declined.