Well some good football news this morning with the announcement that English Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur has signed a partnership agreement with Premier Soccer League side SuperSport United.
The deal will see both clubs’ academies working closely together, which will surely benefit our local players. (No cracks about Spurs’ dreadful start to the season, please, and yes, I am a Spurs fan.)
Spurs sporting director Damien Comolli was quoted on the club’s website as saying: “This represents an excellent opportunity for both clubs. It is a mutually beneficial partnership that will see both our academies gain from the association.
“We will aim to bring one or two players a year over to train with our homegrown talent, and I do not think it is unrealistic to expect that, in a few years’ time, the majority of players in the South African national squad will have come from the SuperSport academy.
“We will look to develop talent — talent that may have a place with us, but also talent for the South African game. The deal is a win/win situation for Spurs and for SuperSport United players and fans.”
Hopefully now we will see other international clubs and local clubs forging similar partnerships, because it has become quite cleat that the South African Football Association’s plans for youth development are not up to scratch.
Here are some comments from other role-players that I found on Spurs’ website:
Tottenham Hotspur academy manager John McDermott said: “There is a coaching exchange element that will see our coaches share their methodology and tactics with their South African counterparts. There are also opportunities for top young talent from both teams to travel to Europe and Africa on a regular basis and train with the respective squads in exchange programmes and compete in tournaments.”
Stanley Matthews, SuperSport United director of football, expressed his delight with the partnership. He said: “As South Africa moves towards the 2010 World Cup, SuperSport United sees this partnership with Tottenham Hotspur as a watershed moment that will shape the destiny of South African football as well as football development in the African continent.”
SuperSport United chairman Khulu Sibiya said: “Our youngsters now have access to the highest level of coaching expertise from one of the greatest clubs in the world. They have every reason to believe that this hard work will be richly rewarded, not only financially but also in education and life skill development.”