Rabutla ploughs back by starting soccer academy

Andrew Rabutla has opened a soccer academy in Polokwane.
Andrew Rabutla has opened a soccer academy in Polokwane.

Former Bafana Bafana and Jomo Cosmos defender Andrew Rabutla has taken his passion of developing talent to another level by establishing a football academy in Limpopo, his home province.

The academy, based in Polokwane, is aimed at nurturing young soccer players.

Following his retirement from football after a stint in Greece between 1997 and 1999, Rabutla returned to the country with the aim of helping develop talent.

On his return, he worked as manager for Jomo Cosmos and Black Leopards and also helped to scout for talent.

The 47-year-old said he hopes the academy will help develop local youth to be able to compete in football's highest level.

"Having played professional soccer at the highest level, I've realised that talent is in abundance in my home province of Limpopo. The only impediment is the know-how to reach one's goal to becoming a professional player," said the man who was popularly known as "Jaws of Life" becuase of his hard tackling during his heyday.

"Most of the talent in this province ends up going to waste because they do not believe in themselves.

"And this is an area that I want to improve, to help young soccer players to realise their dreams [of playing professionally], hence I decided to come [back] to the province."

The soccer academy, which is situated in central Polokwane in Paul Kruger Street, takes aspiring soccer players aged 15, 17 and 19 years, who are also at the school-going stage.

"We encourage parents of the youngsters to look for schools around Polokwane for their kids who will be registered at the academy, so that they can attend lessons during the day and also train soccer after school," he said, adding that transport would be provided to take the youngsters to various schools and back to the training field after lessons.

So far there are already 30 registered kids. The academy hopes to take 60 promising future soccer stars.

Rabutla said financial support was needed to enable the academy to function professionally.

"We have a lot of programmes in mind and it's through financial injections, be it from the government or business community, that we can achieve our desired goals."

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