Stellenbosch University (SU) played host to a week of football excellence from 6 – 11 January 2014 with a series of international and local games all held at the Coetzenburg stadium in Stellenbosch.
The Dutch football team PEC Zwolle, currently playing in the Netherland’s highest level of professional club football, as well as Stuttgart VfB of the German Bundesliga, played against local teams Ajax Cape Town and Vasco da Gama Cape Town before tackling each other in their final match on Saturday 11 January 2014.
This week of football excellence forms part of the Football Development Programme driven by SU with the aim of promoting and advancing football in the Stellenbosch region as well as creating and enhancing an expert football environment.
“Our world class facilities, expertise in the field of sport science and our geographical location all mean that we are ideally positioned to build the SU Football Programme into the leading football development programme in South Africa,” says Ms Anita Nel, Senior Director of Innovation and Business Development at Stellenbosch University (SU) and CEO of Innovus.
Following the week’s football programme the cooperation between the companies will see a brand new artificial grass pitch in the region of Stellenbosch. The soccer field can be used day and night using Dutch solar powered lighting. The field has also been fitted using water-saving systems from the Netherlands.
The programme for the week at Coetzenburg Stadium was as follows:
- 6 – 10 January: KNVB coaching course
- 7 January: PEC Zwolle v Ajax Cape Town, Kick-off at 20h00 at 9 January: VfB Stuttgart v Vasco Da Gama, Kick-off at 20h00 at Coetzenburg Stadium
- 11 January: PEC Zwolle v VfB Stuttgart, Kick-off @ 17h00 at Coetzenburg Stadium
SU also hosted a football coaching course attended by 25 local football coaches who constitute the LFA. The coaching training course is presented by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) as part of their international World Coaches programme. This training course entrenches the relationship between the University, through Innovus – its university-industry Interaction and Innovation Company, and the Local Football Association (LFA).
Bonnie Horbach, Consul General of the Netherlands in Cape Town discussed the countries’ involvement when she spoke during the training camp of the Dutch football club PEC Zwolle in South Africa themed, “The Road to Stellenbosch”.
The meeting was organised by the Dutch Consulate in Cape Town, the Dutch national soccer association (KNVB) and PEC Zwolle and forms part of a long-term technical collaboration between the soccer club and the University of Stellenbosch. The purpose of the function was to bring together Dutch and South African companies and provide information on the social responsibility projects that the KNVB and PEC Zwolle are undertaking.
“We are proud to welcome these international and local teams to Stellenbosch. Their participation, including that of KNVB, is proof of the collaborative role football can play. We are not only bringing together the local football playing communities, but also that of the country and even the world,” says Ms Nel.
All involved parties are of the opinion that sport, development and entrepreneurship are irrevocably connected and mutually enforcing. “Combining social and commercial objectives is very important, and culturally inherent to South African and Dutch companies…Soccer embodies social values like dedication, teamwork and focus. These values are not only applicable to sports but will lead to success in game as well as in life. It is therefore important to ensure that many young people can practise sports.” said Horbach.
The programme hopes to advance development within the region and the country.