My name is Graham Knott and I am the Head Coach of the Young Bafana Soccer Academy U/12 team.
My association with soccer goes back a long way with my Grandfather being one of the early members of the De Beers Football Club way back in the 1920's. He coached the juniors for many years and was succeeded by my father who managed and coached for close on another 30 years.
I played soccer at De Beers as a junior and a senior and became involved with the Junior section as chairman and coach from 1990 to 1996. Ironically, one of the boys in the team that I coached is the founder of this amazing Young Bafana Soccer Academy project, Bernd Steinhage.
Initially, I joined Young Bafana in 2015 as a part-time coach, assisting with coaching sessions for the U/6 to U13 age groups at a local school. At the beginning of 2017, I became a full-time coach and started up the high-performance U/12 team comprising mainly boys from the underprivileged areas in the Helderberg area.
This Young team surpassed all expectations in their first year of competition in the Cape Town Tygerberg District League and ended the season in third place, just three points shy of gaining promotion. In addition, they qualified for the final of the Knock-Out Cup losing narrowly to the league winners.
We are very proud of this young team, most of whom will still be under 12 next year. They have had to contend with physically bigger and stronger opponents and their success is a testimony to the consistent effort they have put into their practices all season.
I have also been involved in the coaching of tennis and cricket with juniors over the years and I find great enjoyment and satisfaction in the interaction with these kids as well as my way of giving something back to the community.