The Future Players Gauteng Talent Search is much more than a campaign to unearth the next Steven Pienaar, Neil Tovey, Lucas Radebe or Portia Modise, it is a platform for education and rehabilitation in some of the Province’s most needy communities.
That is why the events for this year’s initiative have not just been selected for footballing reasons, but also because the learners in these areas can benefit hugely from the lifestyle programmes that go hand-in-hand with the search for the next footballing superstar.
Last weekend the Future Players Gauteng Talent Search stopped in Reiger Park and Noordgesig, with those two venues specifically chosen by the office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Both areas have experienced problems with substance abuse and crime in the recent past and the Future Players Gauteng Talent Search provides a platform for positive interventions in this regard.
All learners who come to the trials are given a presentation by LoveLife, South Africa’s largest national AIDS prevention, education and behavior initiative as well as Grassroots Soccer.
“Football is a vehicle to a better life and social cohesion, not just in terms of providing a career for those gifted enough to play the game as a professional, but also as a platform to educate our young learners about the world around them,” says Gauteng MEC for Education, Mr Panyaza Lesufi.
“The old saying of prevention is better than cure is true when it comes to our young learners in vulnerable areas. If we can educate them of the dangers in society before they come into contact with them, they stand a better chance of doing the right thing when the time comes.”
Football is a language that all understand and by bringing together a fun aspect of the sport with the educational importance of the Future Players Gauteng Talent Search, we are able to provide the right environment for the learners to take on board what is being taught in building self esteem, as well as preventing drug use, bulling and obesity”, concluded Mr Lesufi.
“We believe that positive interventions in society are crucial for the development of our young learners,” says the Gauteng Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC, Ms Molebatsi Bopape. “We applaud the efforts of the Future Champions Gauteng programme in giving these opportunities, on and off the field, to the young boys and girls of this Province.”
“We know we have an abundance of footballing talent in this province, but also too many communities ripped apart by substance abuse that more often than not leads to crime.
“That is why the areas have been chosen for this year’s Future Players Gauteng Talent Search and we believe that many lives will be saved by the knowledge that is being imparted to these learners”, concluded Ms Bopape.
The next stop for the Future Players Gauteng Talent Search will be the Randfontein Primary School on Saturday (from 08h00) when it is expected that 1000 learners will get their chance to progress to the next stage, but also be armed with the knowledge of the damage that substance abuse can have not just on an individual or their family, but the community as a whole.