The largest and most successful grassroots football development league in the country has proudly established itself as the most trusted football talent hub for professional clubs, producing household names such as Andile Jali, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Themba Zwane.
A draw was also conducted, which officially marked the battle lines for the highly anticipated tournament.
All nine provinces plus a university select side, University Sport South Africa (USSA) will be represented by the “cream of the crop” selected from the 30 000 players nationwide that participate in the SAB League.
In line with the SAB League’s commitment to football development, a total of 20 match officials who will officiate during the tournament will undergo a week of training.
This will be conducted by highly qualified technical and physical instructors including former FIFA referee, Sylvester Ndaba.
Also present at the launch was Mojalefa Selumetse, a proud beneficiary of SAB’s latest innovation to the SAB League that sees selected players being afforded an opportunity to pursue a career of their choice at any accredited tertiary institution.
Selumetse, who is completing his final year in Education, was one of the players that assisted Free State to two consecutive SAB U21 National Championships. He expressed his appreciation to SAB for the significant contribution they have made in his life.
”The SAB League has changed my life in a manner that words cannot explain. My talent was discovered through this league and I am now a few months away from being a University graduate thanks to the study assistance programme by SAB. I am looking forward to graduating and becoming an educated professional footballer,” said Selumetse.
SAB’s Head of Sustainability and Transformation Mpho Sadiki said 2016 has been one of the most exciting seasons of the SAB League since the start of the brewer’s partnership with SAFA.
“We have been innovative in our commitment to football development with various initiatives such as the SAB League Skills Camps, higher education bursaries and player data monitoring. This is a positive direction that SAB has taken and we look forward to an exciting finale of the season at the National Championships,” Sadiki said.
Outside of the football action, all players present at the tournament will attend the Complete Player Programme - a life skills programme aimed at addressing social ills and equipping young footballers with the necessary life skills required in their journey to a professional football career.
The Complete Player Programme will be administered by legends of the game such as Collen Tlemo and Silver Shabalala.
SAFA’s President, Dr. Danny Jordaan highlighted the value that organisations such as SAB bring to the development of football, saying that significant strides had been made since the beginning of the partnership with SAB.
“SAFA’s vision of producing competitive national teams is also aided by the support of organisations such as SAB and this has been evident in the number of quality footballers that have come through the SAB League,” said Jordaan.