SuperSport United Football Club Development Academy:
Established in 2000, the objective of the academy is to assist young aspirant soccer stars to maximize their footballing potential, while simultaneously ensuring they develop into responsible citizens with an education to fall back onto, should they not be able to pursue football as a full-time career.
The players aged 12 years and above, are scouted from around South Africa through the South African Football Association (SAFA) and SASFA tournaments, friendlies, league fixtures and trials. They play for the Academy until they have matriculated and thereafter will be signed by the senior team should they meet the talent criteria. Those unfortunate not to make a career out of the beautiful game, pursue their desired careers as professionals elsewhere.
The Academy provides players with a free formal education. And to further develop their football talent and equip them for the demands of modern-day life and professional football, players enjoy life-skills education as well as access to world-class training and medical facilities.
It’s the international partnerships that the club prides itself on most as the exchange programmes in place have afforded their players opportunities that they previously would have only dreamt of. From 2001 till 2007 SuperSport United saw the need to join forces with a European club and had a very successful partnership with Feyenoord Rotterdam from Holland. In 2007 the academy partnered with Tottenham Hotspur FC and Bongani Khumalo (three-time-Absa-Premiership-Gold-Medalist) was one such player who thrived under this exchange programme opportunity and was signed by Spurs.
In addition to this, the club has a superb partnership with Stellenbosch University which offers six scholarships for players aged 18 – 20 years old, wanting to further their studies whilst playing football. The University also has one of the best High-Performance Centres in the country, allowing the medical staff to continuously improve their knowledge.
A new partnership has also been formed and is known as the SuperSport United Soccer Schools (SSUSS). This Academy previously only had under13 to under19 teams, but through the partnership are expanding from under8 through to the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) level, and will thus be truly representative of the country’s demographics with roughly 60% of their players coming from Gauteng and the youngest group from Pretoria.
In the past, the majority of the players were housed and attended Rosina Sedibane Sport School. This fruitful relationship saw the academy players win several tournaments with great prize money for the school, as well as winning overseas trips to the Schools World Cup in Turkey in 2009, Brazil in 2011 and France in 2013.
To further compliment the work being done at the academy, Phumelela (who partnered with United for over 10 years) and SuperSport United also joined forces in an annual community soccer project, which gives youngsters with natural footballing talent a chance to break into the big time. The project also aimed to increase the level of soccer coaching skills at selected schools through interaction with school coaches, coaching manuals and other coaching aids. The climax of the project was a four-team tournament that included a Phumelela Select XI.
Phumelela’s sponsorship played a key role in SuperSport United’s work in the community and scouting plans, facilitating the SuperSport United scouting programme in looking for talent in areas that no one else looks in a bid to find soccer gems. The selected players are invited to the Academy for a week in December (annually) and get a full rundown of how the Academy works.
“Trials for the under17’s and under19’s are held in February and March and later the club will do the ‘Coach the Coaches’ programme for coaches, which will be done by the first-team technical guys as well as the academy coaches.” says Kwanele Kopo, SuperSport United Technical Director.
With success stories like goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, Kermit Erasmus (currently with Cape Town City FC), Kamohelo Mokotjo (currently plying his trade overseas) and Thato Mokeke (currently with Cape Town City FC), the Phumelela-SuperSport United Youth Academy is well on its way to being the best on the African continent.
The dedicated staff behind the Academy:
SuperSport United Football Club Technical Head
DStv Diski Challenge (DDC) Coach
Kwanele Kopo head coach
DStv Diski Challenge (DDC) Assistant Coach
DStv Diski Challenge (DDC) Manager
Marco Da Rocha
Academy Exercise Scientist
Players who graduated to the First team and those who left the club
- Ronwen Williams
- Dumsani Msibi
- Thabo Moloi
- Skhumbuzo Mazibuko
- Gino Moeketsi
- Cebo Meyiwa
- Snethemba Ngidi
- Thabiso Nkoana
- Kamohelo Mokotjo
- Kermit Erasmus
- Daine Klate
- Masibuzane Zongo
- Sherwyn Naicker
- Njabulo Kubheka
- Jerry Mxabo
- Sanele Khuzwayo
Players who represented United in the National Under17 Squad
- Mondli Mpoto
- Themba Nzimande
- Nelson Maluleke
- Katlego Mohame
- Simon Nqoi
Players who represented United in the National Under20 Squad
- Denwin Farmer
- Skhumbuzo Mazibuko
- Dumsani Msibi
- Zama Rambuwane
- Keagan Pool
- Siphosakhe Ntiya-ntiya
- Dane Jooste
- Kwanele Zulu