The South African Football Association (SAFA on Monday November 14 unveiled the first phase of a multimillion-rand, world-class football development facility in Alexandra, Region E.
Called the SAFA Alex Safe Hub, the facility has been developed in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, SAFA Development Agency and premier sportswear chain Totalsports to keep the youth off the streets and mischief and offer them a variety of development options.
The hub – the fourth of its kind in South Africa and the first to be developed by the SAFA Development Agency – includes, besides the football pitch, a 40-seater information technology and communication centre, a technology-enabled youth café, and a learning and enterprise centre. Similar youth centres have been developed in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu in Cape Town and Diepsloot in Johannesburg by sport development organisation Amandla EduFootball.
The objective of the SAFA Alex Safe Hub is to offer opportunities to young people through football development and to assist in building football talent development structures in Alexandra. The City facilitated the provision of the land on which the hub is located.
SAFA Development Agency CEO Dr Robin Petersen said it took almost four years to develop the facility.
“Initial meetings started around January-February 2013. We have partnered with Amandla EduFootball to build this centre. This is a facility for the development of football. We want to develop talent that we’ll see in our national teams. As from April 2017 onwards, we aim to enrol more than 2 000 participants in the safe hub programme here in Alex. About 25 people will be employed here.
Our goal is to have 100 safe hubs over the next 10 years,” said Petersen. Totalsports plans to invest more than R35-million in these safe hubs over the next five years. Its Head of Brands, Craig Lamb, said the sports clothing chain’s partnership with the SAFA Development Agency was an important one. “As Totalsports, we’re extremely proud to be funding this project. We believe that sport has the power to change lives. We’re committed to empowering and transforming the youth through sport. Thank you to everyone who has ensured that this hub becomes a reality,” said Lamb.
Alexandra North Rand Local Football Association President Phil Molekwa said local residents had been longing to have a facility of this nature for a long time.
“This is a marriage that will last forever. We wish to thank Totalsports and other partners for their support. I’m so excited and happy,” said Molekwa.