Schools in Challenge

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The new Vodacom Inter School Challenge has quietly begun throughout the country with some of the future Bafana Bafana stars on display.

The Challenge has replaced the popular MTN Under-16 Soccer Cup, which ended last year after the contract was not renewed by the cellphone company.

Though the South African Football Schools Association (Safsa) and Vodacom still have to finalise figures, the sponsorship will not be less than R4 million a year.

Part of the sponsorship will also have to make provision for the fact that the winners will represent South Africa at the 2009 World Schools Cup in Turkey.

The tournament started last month with just over 4000 secondary schools taking part and national playoffs will be played in Soweto in October.

"We are very excited about the new baby. So far so good," said Themba Tshabalala, Safsa project manager.

"There will be a workshop in Muldersdrift from Monday to Wednesday where we will be coming up with plans to make it even more exciting.

"The workshop will be attended by our leadership, partners and provincial coordinators so that we share the same vision for the tournament."

Tshabalala said the regional eliminations were planned to start next month and provincial championships in August.

"We will be going to the South African Football Association Pimville-Klipspruit Development Centre for the national playoffs from October 1 to 4."

Steve Pila, Safsa's general secretary, said: "We have a meeting with the partners next week where all the details, including the launch, will be finalised."

The Inter School Challenge is a fifth sponsorship for Safsa after Nestle Milo, Mille, Danone (all catering for primary schools) and Kay Motsepe (high schools).