Youngsters dream is to play football and Nike is turning that into reality

And to spice it up, they get an opportunity to play for bigger teams locally and share the experience with their international counterparts. How awesome!


Despite South Africa failing dismally to compete or reach final stages of big tournaments in the world, when coming to identifying talent we seem to excel although no results forthcoming. Eish…


Perhaps this programme initiated in 2009 could try and remedy the situation.


Almost 56 young footballers selected from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg by a core group of coaches, got their Nike Elite Training programme for the year end 2011 underway at the Nike Football Training Centre, Pimville- Soweto, yesterday.


Under the watchful-eye of former Bafana Bafana internationals Shaun Bartlett and Eric Tinkler, they both have the arduous task of determining which four young players would have exclusive training opportunities with three leading Premier Soccer League clubs, namely Chiefs, Wits and Sundowns, who are all Nike sponsored outfits.  


Nike coach Shaun Bartlett was eager to stress that these footballers had a unique opportunity to forge a potential career in the game, when he said: “Many young footballers dream of opportunities like this but seldom have the chance to make it happen.


Nike have provided a platform for these boys to make the most of their talent and prove that they have the determination, desire and will to succeed,” says Bartlett who runs his own football academy.


The Nike coaching staff did a series of fitness drills, followed by tactical and technical drills that were hand-picked from some of the biggest clubs in the world including the likes of Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona.


Goal-minder Reyaad Pieterse, who was selected last year alongside other two players, and has been excelling in UK thus far, has been given the opportunity to train with Steven “Schillo” Pienaar’s side Tottenham Hostspur.


Jonathan King is also the product of the Nike Academy in UK.


Khayalethu Nzimande, has been signed by Wits.


Pieterse gave words of encouragement when he said went, “I believe that not every young player has what it takes to be able to live abroad, away from friends and family for five or six months at a time, but I am determined to make the most of my time. I want to make the grade; I want to be the best footballer that I can possibly be.” 

The programme began yesterday with aplomb and ends today on a high note!


Although we entrust on our national teams to do the right thing-owing to an abundant of resources we have in our disposal- perhaps the four chosen player’s would bring an element of excitement and change the shape of our football.





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