Bafana Bafana and Sundowns legend's plan to address footballers' social skills

Bafana Bafana and Sundowns legend's plan to address footballers' social skills

Former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Sipho “Mfundisi” Ndzuzo is setting a platform to address social ills affecting professional footballers.

Ndzuzo announced to SABC Sport last week that he’s setting up Footballers Factory (FF), a non-profit organization programme that seeks to Mentor, Nurture, and Develop young talented boys and girls with football and social skills.

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Ndzuzo says the focus will be on the holistic development of a footballer.

''We make sure that we come up with the initiative of holistic development of young footballers in the country, we set and deliberated on issues that our youth is challenged with in the country.

''We believe that South Africa has talent for football, ours was to say - how then can we prepare these young footballers, both boys and girls from the ages under 10 to under 17,'' said Ndzuzo. 

 Ndzuzo, a well-traveled former professional footballer, who played for Mthatha Bush Bucks, Manning Rangers, Ajax Cape Town, and Sundowns, says the FF will be based in Johannesburg, Tsomo, and Gqeberha where he hails from.

 His focus on the Eastern Cape says it has been encouraged by the football development in Limpopo.

''Let me be honest with you and say, if you look at South African football right now. I believe Limpopo is currently doing wonders with rural footballers.

''I believe Eastern Cape as well has young talented footballers, and we need to look at giving them opportunities,'' added  Ndzuzo.

Young aspiring footballers in the country also come from difficult backgrounds and have to overcome a lot of hardship to make it to the top.

The footballing community also does very little at times to take care of the social skills programme of footballers, with an emphasis on technical matters.

Ndzuzo, a former South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) President has dealt with a lot of these issues in the past, to know what’s needed.

''But as I'm saying to you - ours is to prepare them, so that in their playing careers they don't go back to fix issues that were not fixed before.

''For example, social issues - some of these players are coming from gender based violence families, some are coming from families faced with drug abuse. So Footballers Factory, through volunteers and social workers - we will prepare these players to be better human beings and role models,'' he concluded.

With football players in the country often caught up in Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases, arrested for drinking and driving, and other social ills, Ndzuzo says these are some of the things they would like to address through FF.