Through her Nozibusiso Foundation, Nozibusiso Sibiya from eSikhawini in Kwa-Zulu Natal is equipping soccer teams in rural parts of KZN with kits training, balls and kits which in turn, gives the players an opportunity to be scouted by professional soccer teams, both in South Africa and abroad.
Sibiya said all of this is made possible thanks to the companies which sponsor the soccer teams. “The development of football at a grassroots level is crucial to growing the sport in communities and, ultimately, at a national level. If kids get the basics right from a young age, we can groom them into soccer players able to compete against the world’s best,” she said.
“Having access to the correct clothes and equipment ensures that youngsters who come from poor families are not discouraged from pursuing a soccer career,” said Sibiya. She realized that some of the players had no kits and some would play without boots which would eventually lead them to quit the sport.
In 2019, Sibiya hosted a tournament for under 15 boys and girls in KwaMbonambi, KwaZulu-Natal, where National First Division league team Royal Kings conducted training classes for the young players. One of the youngsters was spotted by a coach and is now set to join Royal Kings’ development structures as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
Another youngster is being scouted by a Danish team. “Just before the lockdown, I was contacted by an agent looking to sign up one of the young players I sponsor,” said Sibiya. Furthermore, she is working on a deal with one of the country’s leading deodorant manufacturers to sponsor soccer kits and balls for all 11 youth teams that play under the KwaMbonambi Local Football Association.