Establishment of Football Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Area: briefing by MM Multimedia

Sports, Arts and Culture

13 June 2011
Chairperson: Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) (Acting)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

MM Multimedia presented a plan to open a soccer academy in the  Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Area in partnership with Liverpool Football Club as a way to support the legacy of the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010. The Academy would provide “total scientific development of football players in South Africa.” It would accept children, boys and girls, from a very young age (even under seven years), but the training focus would be at the under-15 and under-17 levels. South African soccer administration could learn a lot from Liverpool Football Club, who had a department devoted to marketing and ticket sales, whose stadium was booked for the next eighteen years, and who had a waiting list of 90 000 for tickets to its home games.

MM Multimedia reported that the project would be carried out in three phases. The first would involve a buy-in into the concept by key stakeholders and the signing of agreements. In phase two, trials for children would be run, media partners would be secured, and the Academy would be launched. The third phase would involve having a team representing the academy in the Premier Soccer League and conducting off-season camps at the central campus in Nelson Mandela Bay for learners from the Academy's satellite campuses around the country. The communities involved in the project would benefit from the use of the world-class facilities that the academy would have. The key stakeholders were the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Liverpool Football Club, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, national government, SAFA, sponsors and parents.

Members applauded the attempt to build on the infrastructural outcomes of the 2010 World Cup, although a number thought that MM Multimedia's presentation to the Committee was slightly premature and lacked details. They could not endorse the project without having seen a detailed business plan and conceptual document. They also questioned the choice of Liverpool Football Club as a partner because the style of football it played was very different to that played in South Africa.
Members also asked how many girls would be part of the Academy, which stakeholders were consulted, what the involvement of the municipality would be and if the company was seeking any financial support from government for the project. It was agreed that the company would develop a more comprehensive document including the business plans and then table that to the Committee at a later date.

Meeting report

Election of Acting Chairperson
The Committee noted that no replacement had been named to replace the outgoing Chairperson, Mr B Khompela (ANC). The Committee therefore had to elect an Acting Chairperson until a permanent appointment was made. Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) was duly elected.

After thanking the Committee for granting him the honour of acting as Chairperson, Mr Dikgacwi invited the delegation from MM Multimedia Management to make their presentation.

MM Multimedia Presentation
Mr Bongani Jack, Chairperson, MM Multimedia, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present to it, and introduced his organisation as a sports consultancy specialising in soccer. MM Multimedia had spent the last two years in partnership with Adidas, promoting the country ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was now looking for ways to support the country's legacy from that event. A considerable infrastructural investment had been made throughout the country for the tournament, and it was important that it was built upon. MM Multimedia had visited soccer clubs around the world with a view to starting a similar soccer academy (or 'school of excellence') in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Area of the Eastern Cape. Liverpool Football Club (LFC) had been chosen eventually, because it was such a historically successful club. The intention was to create the Nelson Mandela Bay Liverpool Football Academy.

The Academy would provide “total scientific development of football players in South Africa.” It would accept children, boys and girls, from a very young age (even under seven years), but the training would be directed at those who were at under-15 and under-17 levels. The Academy would provide accommodation, transport, recreational facilities, life skills such as financial management and coping with media attention, as well as medical and psychological assistance to these age-groups. Coaches would be brought from LFC who would help to train local coaches. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) would be encouraged to absorb post-matric students, who did not become professional sportsmen and -women, into sports-related academic programmes.

Mr Jack said that South African soccer administration could learn a lot from LFC. Most South African soccer clubs struggled to fill stadiums at their matches. LFC had a department devoted to marketing and ticket sales. Their stadium was booked for the next eighteen years, and they had a waiting list of 90 000 for tickets to LFC home games. Sporting codes in South Africa were still divided along racial lines; another reason that LFC had been chosen was that it was a non-racial, international brand.

Mr Jack gave a brief historical background of soccer in South Africa. Soccer was brought to South Africa by British colonists. The first documented match took place in 1862 in what was now the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. In 1961 South Africa was banned by FIFA, although the game continued to be played in the townships, where a 'diski-influenced' style developed. During apartheid it became a platform for the delivery of political messages; many games were preceded by speeches by prominent political actors. South Africa was readmitted to international competition in 1992, and won the Confederation of African Football (CAF) championship in 1996.

Mr Jack said that the project would be carried out in three phases. The first would involve a buy-in into the concept by key stakeholders and the signing of agreements. The corporate identity of the project would be defined, funding and sponsorship, identification and development of municipal land and contracting of coaches would be included. In phase two, trials for children would be run, media partners would be secured, and the academy would be launched. Learners at the academy would then participate in the South African Football Association (SAFA) lower league, and soon satellite campuses would be established around the country. The third phase would involve having a team representing the academy in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), and off-season camps at the central campus in Nelson Mandela Bay for learners from the satellites around the country.

The communities involved in the project would benefit from the use of the world-class facilities that the academy would have. The key stakeholders were the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, LFC, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the Eastern Cape provincial government, national government, SAFA, sponsors and parents.

Mr Jack ended by requesting the endorsement of the Committee.

Discussion
Mr B Holomisa (UDM) said that it was a good initiative, but thought that it might have been slightly premature for MM Multimedia to have presented to the Committee. He asked whether they were anticipating financial or any other support from the state, and if so, it would be improper for the Committee to make any commitment before the project had been presented to, for instance, the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Education.

In addition, Mr Holomisa asked the presenters to clarify their reasons for choosing LFC. The South African soccer style carried a history in it, similar to Brazilian and Spanish teams and Arsenal Football Club. He predicted that they would be confronted with this question in future. A number of committee members echoed this concern.

Mr Mlamli Mangcala, Chief Executive Officer, MM Multimedia, replied that the fact-finding expedition had investigated other clubs, but had found LFC's setup to be the most attractive.

Mr Jack added that the country’s historical connection with Britain and LFC's non-racial brand identity were also important factors which had influenced their choice.

Mr T Lee (DA) asked whether industry in the Nelson Mandela Metropole had been engaged with.

Mr Jack replied that many stakeholders had been engaged with already, including the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, who had written a letter of intent, the Public Utility Transport Corporation (PUTCO), national and provincial government, potential sponsors such as Volkswagen, Safmarine, Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN) and SASOL.

Mr Lee said that the legacy of apartheid in sport was the absence of facilities. He asked what plans existed to provide the community with facilities, so that talent could be identified. Where local schools going to be involved?

Mr Mangcala replied that it was indeed unfortunate that many schools had been built without taking into account the possibility that sports facilities would become a reality. He envisaged clinics being held at the academy involving surrounding schools. They would enter into a strategic partnership which schools. Academic subjects would be supported within the academy as well, he added.

Mr Lee asked what the relationship was between MM Multimedia and Adidas.

Mr Mangcala replied that the relationship with Adidas had begun during the 2010 World Cup promotion campaign, but MM Multimedia was not a part of Adidas, and no contract existed between them at present.

Ms S Lebenya-Ntanzi (IFP) asked what the involvement of the municipality would be.

Mr Jack replied that the municipality had identified some land near to Telkom Park which could be used for the academy.

Ms Lebenya-Ntanzi asked how much work had already been done on the project.

Mr Jack replied that the project was at the consultation stage.

Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) addressed several issues. Firstly, he applauded the presenters for recognising the need to build on the legacy of the 2010 World Cup. Secondly, he asked whether LFC's incentive was purely brand-related, or did they intend to discover players from South Africa?
Thirdly, he asked how the project would be financed. Lastly, he asked how many players in the academy would be girls.

Mr Jack replied that MM Multimedia and its sponsors would bear the financial burden of the project. LFC's involvement would be at the level of branding.

Mr L Suka (ANC) asked MM Multimedia to bring a more comprehensive proposal document before the Committee, which would include a mission statement and description of the organisation itself.

Mr J McGluwa (ID) added that a detailed business plan would need to be presented.

Mr Jack agreed that this could be done.

Mr Holomisa said that without a business plan, the Committee could not endorse the project, although along with many of the Members, he supported it in principle.

Mr Suka asked the presenters to explain the relationship of their project with the existing football academy at NMMU. Would there not be a duplication of services in the area?

Mr Jack said that an agreement with SASOL, who owned that academy, had been reached, according to which its soccer-related component would be transferred to the new academy.

Mr McGluwa asked for how long discussions with LFC had been underway.

Mr Mangcala replied that discussions had been underway for about twelve months.

The Chairperson noted that one of the delegates had said that they had met with the Minister of Sport and Recreation. What had his response been?

A delegate replied that the Minister had expressed his support.

The Chairperson asked the delegation to interact with the Committee Secretary, Mr
Lichakane Phori, about developing a more comprehensive conceptual document.

The meeting was adjourned.


Present

  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: