SA's soccer youngsters to tour Argentina

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Durban - The South African national u/17 soccer team, known as Amajimbos, will travel to Argentina next month, as a result of a bilateral agreement signed in 2008 to advance the sport.

The youngsters will participate in three key soccer training games against the two most competitive clubs in Argentina, with the culmination of a final match against the Argentine u/17 national team.

The Argentine Embassy, South African Ministry of Sport and Recreation, South African Football Association (SAFA) and First National Bank (FNB) are responsible for making the tour possible.

"The tour in September by the u/17 team enables us to kick off with the opportunity to implement the bilateral agreement signed in 2008. The agreement promotes friendly relations between the two countries... and provides expertise to assist either country in the fields of sport and recreation development," said,Carlos Sersale di Cerisano, Argentine Ambassador to South Africa.

Sersale di Cerisano added: "I believe the learning and benefits that will be derived by both countries during the tour will be paramount to future development of youth football and other sports".

The tour will be used to exchange and share key ideas through a one-and-a-half day workshop between the Argentine Football Federation, SAFA and the South Africa's Sport and Recreation department.

This workshop will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and will also include education on responsibilities at governmental and civil society level, for youth soccer development.

Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen said government wanted to maximise access, development and excellence at all levels of participation in sport and recreation.

"This bilateral agreement talks to what we strive to achieve and will enable both Argentina and South Africa to learn from each other by sharing good practices in sport and recreation. The tour will also help in instilling national pride and establishing friendships among the participating youth," said Oosthuizen.

"As a country we look forward to being represented by some of these youngsters at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil! The legacy of the World Cup games has started with Amajimbos," the deputy minister said.

SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani commended the public private partnership in this initiative.

"The football family values government support and sponsorship from business South Africa. FNB is passionate about football development. Their investment in our under 17 national team... is a sign of true commitment to football development," Nematandani said.