Local football veterans return to empower budding SAB League players with life skills

14 Jul 14

02_07- SAB football developmentFormer South African senior football players will facilitate skills training workshops with at least 250 young players from across the country who are participating in the SAB League National Championship playoffs being held at North West University in Mafikeng in the North West this week.

The SAB League is the largest grassroots football division administered by the South African Football Association (SAFA). The SAB League national championships run until Sunday, 20th July.

The Complete Player

The SAB League youth diversion programme, called The Complete Player, is a partnership between SAB and local NGO Footballers4Life, whose veteran football players facilitate the training. These players include Silver Shabalala of Amazulu, Cosmos, Black Leopards fame, Collen Tlemo (Cosmos, Portadown), Charles Motlohi (Bloemfontein Celtic, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bafana Bafana), and Enrico Bhana (Thembisa Classics, Dangerous Darkies, Wits).

The Complete Player, a new component of SAB’s commitment to local grassroots football development through the SAB League, is in its second year and is designed to engage young players beyond football and to drive positive social change amongst them by equipping them with important life skills.

“SAB is constantly striving to be a force for good within society and has proven its commitment to grassroots football development through decades-long investment in the SAB League. We have no doubt that the youth diversion programme, coupled with participation in the SAB League, will help:

  • unleash the full potential of these future stars;
  • expose them to positive role models;
  • and help them refrain from risky behaviour, particularly irresponsible alcohol use, ”

says Muzi Chonco, SAB Manager Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Investment.

Holistic training

The programme takes a holistic view of the challenges young football players face in their everyday lives and gives them the appropriate tools to deal with them. Importantly, it exposes players to positive male role models, something that is critically lacking in South African society, says Silver Shabalala, veteran player and Chief Operating Officer at Footballers4Life.

“Young men in South Africa have always needed guidance from positive male role models as many of them grow up in single parent homes. The presence of Footballers4Life retired footballers gives the youth role models to look up to and relate to. They enjoyed interaction with the coaches as they saw successful people that have walked the same path and have managed to overcome all the obstacles that they as young men were currently dealing with, ” says Shabalala.

Training encompasses HIV and AIDS, alcohol and drug use, as well how to manage their personal finance and the basics in CV writing skills. The modules are part of a SETA accredited Footballers4Life curriculum, a testament to the in-depth and robust nature of the education the players receive through the Complete Player programme, says Shabalala

This year’s programme also includes an entrepreneurship module that aims to empower players should they consider running their own business.

Shabalala says The Life Manual given to players enables them to visualise themselves in situations that they dream of being in and teaches them to work through negative situations that they may run into. “The programme is a cross between outcomes based education and fun learning which ensures that all the lessons are memorable.”

In addition to the skills training workshops, SAB will award educational bursaries to several players. These will help some of them to complete their Grade 12 learning and others’ full FET College tuition will be covered.


Find out more about SAB's corporate social responsibility programmes by exploring more SAB Stories.