On 15 September 2018 I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the 10th annual Investec Soccer League final match. What an enthralling encounter it was, after the match Dr. Bayers Naude were crowned champions of this development league which kicked off on 09 May 2018, for their prowess they took a whooping R250 000 prize money.

South African Football legends Brian Baloyi and Stanton ‘Stiga’ Fredericks are both ambassadors of this amazing initiative.

I had a chat with the latter and he shed some light on what it means for him to be part of this initiative.

“Firstly as an ex-professional soccer player I get excited when I hear school sports because that is where everything started for me. I was playing Football at school then later represented my province and that is where I got identified,” said Fredericks.

Speaking on the importance of education, Fredericks added that the amazing thing about this tournament is that schools are identified through Maths and Physics which means this league does not only promote football but academics as well.

Talking about mentorship, Stiga emphasizes that it is important for young children to have a mentor. “It is very important for children to have someone to look up to, who reminds them of what success looks like. Me and Brian Baloyi are that to these upcoming soccer players. We are trying to build confidence in them and thanks to Investec for that opportunity,” he added.

He also encouraged parents to let their children play sports in school. 

“Sports is so beneficial to a young person because it teaches you so much aspects of success. It’s about social elements like how do you make friends, how do you behave in a group, do you take instructions well? Are you disciplined enough to attend trainings? Are you encouraging? So sports is just so massive in a young person’s development.” He concluded.

All in all, the tournament was a success and a lot of young people got the opportunity to showcase their talent. When it comes to sports and academics, I can safely say that the future looks bright for our country.