By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
SOUTH AFRICA 🇿🇦 will host the inaugural much-anticipated CAF African Schools Football Championship Continental Final phase at King Zwelithini Stadium, CAF announced this week.
The soccer spectacle will take place at Durban’s King Zwelithini Stadium from 05-08 April 2023. According to CAF, the first year of the Programme, a historic and first of its kind Schools Programme that has attracted over 44 000 boys and girls in 41 African countries under the age of 15 to not only compete on the field but to be empowered through a number of programmes aimed at capacity building.
Also revealed is that this is a culmination of a journey that started with Schools competition at National level and then Zonal Phase. Moreover, the Continental Phase of the competition will see some of the top schools in Africa compete for the ultimate prize in what is expected to be a weekend of festivities in KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.
The Final will be played on Saturday, 08 April 2023. CAF General Secretary General, Veron Mosengo-Omba commented: “We are excited to reach this state and to see what started as a vision being implemented and benefiting the young people in Africa. It is history in the making. The CAF African Schools Football Championship is very important to CAF, it is important to Africa and it is very important to CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe.
For the first time, CAF is not just talking about developing the youth, but we are investing in a tangible way to the future of Africa. We are giving hope, we are giving a platform.”
On the Final in Durban, Mosengo-Omba added: “Following extensive consultation that also included inviting Member Associations to submit applications to host, South Africa’s Durban was given the go-ahead. We have a lot of confidence that we will work together with SAFA, with South African Government and KwaZulu Natal to ensure that this is a success.”
CAF President’s Dr Motsepe’s Vision to Invest in Youth:
The CAF African Schools Football Championship was first announced by CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire in April 2021. At the announcement, Dr Motsepe had said: “The best investment we can make to ensure that African football is amongst the best in the world and self-sustaining, is to invest in schools’ football and youth football development infrastructure for boys and girls at club and national level. This is one of my key focus areas as President of CAF.”
Since its launch in Mozambique last year, the CAF African Schools Football Championship has already impacted many lives. Thanks to a donation of USD 10 million by the Motsepe Foundation that will go into prizes of Schools at National, Zonal and Continental level, Schools will be able to use the money for Development projects, CAF noted.
Prize money: Zonal Phase Winner (boys & girls) $100,000; Runner-up (boys & girls) $75,000 ; Third place (boys & girls) $50,000
Continental Phase: Winner (boys & girls) $300,000; Runner-up (boys & girls) $200,000; Third place (boys & girls) $150,000