LUCAS RADEBE GIVES INSIGHT ON COPA COCA-COLA TOURNAMENT
By: Lucky Khanyile
Former Bafana Bafana captain, Lucas ‘Roo’ Radebe, is confident that exposure at grassroots level is key in discovering and nurturing the future stars’ talent in South Africa.
Radebe was addressing the media ahead of the Copa Coca-Cola showpiece on Tuesday. The finals scheduled for 24 to 26 September will be played in Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.
Radebe said that for players to be exceptional in national level, they have to start by grooming and exposing them at grassroots level.
“Football today it’s young, it’s fast and what we need in terms of consistency performing at the highest level, is a structure in the grassroots level.
I have always reiterated; lets focus, let’s channel and lets invest in grassroots level especially in schools,” said Radebe.
The former Leeds and Bafana defender rues lack of exposure in the lower levels and urged teams and all structures involved to play a role in keeping the minors in shape.
“When you young and have that inspiration, passion and you want to play at the highest level you have to enjoy the game. This is why South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) has joined forces with Copa Coca-Cola, and new partner, Adidas in identifying and exposing these youngsters.
We want to introduce them, let them know that football doesn’t end here and its not about playing but also gaining discipline,” added Roo.
The competition has produced great players in the likes of Andile Jali, Happy Jele, Bongani Ndulula, Mandla Masango, Ronwen Williams and Sibusiso Msomi to mention a few.
Fetsi Mbele, Marketing Assets Manager at Coca-Cola said, “ The tournament has been a success over the past eight years across 61 countries. This years’ tournament was more successful compared to the previous, where 916 matches were played unlike the 410 in 2014.
A staggering 610 schools across the country participated so we are looking forward to 2016 to be bigger and extraordinary.”
SASFA president, Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko, expressed his delight on the turnout of the tournament claiming, “Its not only about football but the way of living also”.