THE South African Football Association is going back to soccer basics with its new development strategy aimed at revolutionising the sport.
The Safa Grassroots Football Programme, a joint project with Fifa, will cater for boys and girls between the ages of six and 12.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said the bigger picture for them with the programme was to see Bafana Bafana once more becoming a force to be reckoned with in global soccer.
"This is an important day in the history of football in South Africa, we are beginning a long journey to position South Africa to be No 1 in Africa," he said.
"The parents will also be involved and there is no normal parent who will let out children between the ages of six and 12 years without accompanying them to the playing fields (for this programme).
"We are going to introduce grassroots football in the communities and everyone will have the opportunity to play. There will also be courses for the coaches.
"Grassroots football can be played everywhere by everybody," said Nematandani, who urged South Africans to embrace the programme.
Safa technical director Serame "Rhee" Letsoaka said: "We need to ensure that our teams have more than one division as part of football development.
"When some of us were growing up, our teams used to have the senior B, C and D divisions which created a platform for everybody to play football.
"We are going to force our teams to have junior teams that will cater for various divisions. The Grassroots Football Programme will be aligned to schools."
Safa chief executive Leslie Sedibe said: "This is going to be a five-year programme and we are going to introduce a project management unit."
His sentiments were echoed by Safa deputy president Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko, who is also the president of the South African Schools Football Association . He said they will be working closely with government.
"We have a memorandum of understanding with both the departments of education and sports and recreation, and we are already working together."
Fifa's development officer for Southern and East Africa, Ashford "Dumba" Mamelodi, was instrumental in helping Safa to develop the programme.