Academy View: A week in the life of an academy director

Bernd Steinhage
Young Bafana
Young Bafana director Bernd Steinhage lives and breathes football. He shares some insight into his job.

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As a Director of the Young Bafana Soccer Academy, my week is pretty full every week.

I usually wake up at 6:00am and drink a glass of water. After which I head to the office and start with emails and administrative tasks. This can take anything from two hours up to eight, subject to the activity level.

Administrative tasks include: communication with staff, institutions, sponsors, our German NGO, the board, press and last- but not least- the bank.

In addition to the aforementioned, I am constantly ensuring that our work is carried out with the correct morals and ethics which are stated in our constitution.

Being in charge is not always easy as there are many individuals who see things differently which can lead to conflicts. Ultimately, the board (myself included) must make decisions which are not always easy. We try and make objective decisions which favour the children and the long-term sustainability of the organisation.

Young Bafana often has sponsors and delegates visiting from all over the world. This can be very time consuming as we take them around the township (Lwandle, Nomzamo ) where the boys live and show them our entire setup.

Generally, I am done with PC work by 14:00 after which I go gym or trail run in order to free my mind.

During any other spare time I may have, I play golf. It takes my mind off the daily operations and challenges of running the organisation. Moreover, it happens to be an excellent way to network and meet potential partners. I also enjoy boxing, chess and reading.



In the past I would head to the U18 training session in the afternoon however, since they started training in Cape Town and the administrative tasks have increased there is seldom time or head space for this. The U14/12 teams are more likely to receive a visit as they are based in Somerset West.  

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Young Bafana runs from January - December, no off season for us. The boys training programme is cut down from Sep - Dec and we tend to emphasise more on education and life skills. This includes hikes up the Helderberg, Table Mountain and visits to the beach. Moreover, the children are given the opportunity to work on computers at our partner organisation Imibala. They have specialised educational programmes with which the children familiarise themselves. These have an excellent subconscious learning effect for the beneficiaries.

Moreover, trips to partner clubs all over the world are on the agenda at least twice per year. This ensures we are up to scratch with our operations at all times. Traveling is a huge passion and I try learn something from the different cultures and people I meet along the way. Moreover, being a registered NGO in Germany and having partner clubs in various countries facilitates the travels.

That’s what my days look like and while it does come with some challenges, the rewards make it all worth it.