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Sport
Soccer academy gets permanent home

Eight years after being established, the Young Bafana Soccer Academy finally has a permanent home base.

The very successful sport and academic organisation has partnered with Somerset West Cricket Club and will be calling Radloff Park their new home. This comes after years of making use of the fields at Hottentots-Holland High and Beaumont Primary schools for training and match preparations.

Founder Bernd Steinhage is delighted and ecstatic with the new venture and will be hoping to unlock even more doors for the academy’s athletes.

“We are very excited about the move to Radloff Park,” he said. “Not only do we have three fields, a clubhouse plus an excellent partner in Somerset West CC, we are also opening our doors to soccer players of all ages, levels and girls.”

When he founded the academy in 2010, Steinhage never in his wildest dreams envisioned the organisation to have ticked off so many boxes before its 10th anniversary, what with two of its players having professional contracts, a host of academic scholarships and an ever-growing athlete basis.

“When I started Young Bafana I never dreamed of growing my passion project to what it has become today,” Steinhage related.

“With a big focus on education, currently, the academy has eight full academic scholarships locally and internationally. In addition to the academic achievements, this year has seen two of the academy’s graduates turn professional at local clubs.”

However, the biggest challenge has been finding a suitable home field where the children have a conducive learning environment and a sense of belonging. After various attempts to establish partnerships with local clubs and schools, the only two schools that were forthcoming were Beaumont and HHH.

Without the generous support of these schools, Young Bafana would more than likely have taken longer to grow to the extent is has. Practices will, however, continue at HHH for its pupils, while the entire junior development section will now take place at Radloff Park.

Steinhage added that the excitement extends throughout the entire Young Bafana staff.

“Our head coaches, together with international volunteers, are just as excited to get going at Radloff in the new year,” he said. “Thank you to Somerset West CC and all its members for this wonderful opportunity. We look forward to many productive and happy years together.”

The bulk of the athletes at the academy are from Lwandle and Nomzamo, but travelling will not be a challenge.

Steinhage believes problems are opportunities to grow as a person and the club has already made provision for the distance and travelling factor to their new home. “The academy offers transport to its beneficiaries from the performance departments, meaning the slightly longer trip does not cause any inconvenience at all,” he said.

V Prospective players are welcome to send an email to bernd@youngbafana.com for further information.

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