SAFA released the following statement about the initiative in South Africa:
“We are grateful and delighted at our partnership with LaLiga. This is another important initiative by our valued partners (LaLiga) aimed at soccer development in the country. The #Passtheball programme presents a unique opportunity through the exchange of expertise and skills between our local and international coaches from Spain. It’s also great to see the donation of soccer equipment which can only aid the overall development of both our budding coaches and the future stars of tomorrow. LaLiga has been a true friend indeed,” says SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan.
#Passtheball will see roughly 200 coaches undergo a two-and-half-day training clinic, and 2000 children receiving specially designed footballs. From Alexandra, the initiative will then move to Stellenbosch in the Western Cape on 2 March 2018, with the hope that this ongoing project will spread to nurture rising football talent in other countries on the continent.
“Growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of a ball,” said Antonio Barradas, Country Manager of LaLiga in South Africa. “Yet, I was lucky. One day a man randomly gave me a ball, and that left such a mark on my life. Right then and there, I vowed that I would do the same for children around the world. That was the birth of the #Passtheball dream.”
“It’s a great honour to be part of such an amazing, unique and meaningful campaign. For someone who recognises the importance of soccer development from a young age, it goes without saying that programmes like #Passtheball hold a special place in my heart. It’s through the nurturing of talent from a young age that I was also fortunate to launch my career and be able to play in some great teams with, at the time, equally great young talent, talent that was also discovered and nurtured from an early stage,” adds official campaign ambassador and former Barcelona player, Patrick Kluivert.
The continued partnership between LaLiga and SAFA has breathed new life into local football tournaments such as the Schools’ Cup, the Gauteng Cup, the KwaMahlobo Games, the New Year’s Cup, and the Memorial Games.
“Partnerships of this kind are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” concludes Antonio Barradas. “We can now provide training and equipment to football enthusiasts in communities where it is most needed, to nurture undiscovered talent!”