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Now in its fourth season, and eighth tournament, the Tsogo Sun SunCares Sports Academy has proved that it is about more than sport, as it has the interest of the local community which it serves and empowers the youth with various life skills.

The SunCares Sports Academy soccer development programme is a successful collaboration between Silverstar, the Gauteng Department of Education, the Department of Sport and Recreation, the South African Football Association (SAFA), the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA), the Mogale City Referees Association and Mogale City.

“This academy is about so much more than just sport. Over the last four years we have developed it into a sports development programme that engages with the youth in the communities surrounding Silverstar to uplift them and the programme addresses more than what just happens on the field,” says Tsogo Sun Group CSI Manager, Shanda Paine.

Sports development needs to address multiple issues faced in the South African sports landscape. This means addressing sports development from a school going age and fostering an environment where sports participation is elevated beyond an extracurricular level. “Through our programme we tackle mass participation – which is where real development takes place. We discover talent and create high performance centres,” Paine explains.

The SunCares Sports Academy has many facets. In addition to the mass participation programme within the schools, there is also a development programme that identifies youngsters with talent. In the academy, teams of talented players and their natural skills are honed, which provides them with the opportunity to compete competitively against strong teams within their neighbourhood and greater surrounding areas.

“This programme is not just about the players – we also work with the teachers and school coaches as well as local referees by ensuring that they receive further technical training, which allows them to be stronger coaches and mentors to the youth participating in the programme,” she says.

The SunCares Sports Academy strongly supports the SAFA development strategy and is also aligned to the School Sports Framework, as outlined by both the Department of Sports and Recreation and the Department of Education.

“It’s important for organisations to engage with the communities within which they operate as it’s beneficial to creating a better society. Initiatives like ours are not the responsibility of one person or entity. Any organisation regardless of how big or small can participate in a programme like the SunCares Sports Academy and the more of us that collaborate and work together in such initiatives the stronger the impact on the youngsters in these communities. We believe it is a strong collaboration between corporates, civil societies, communities and government, ” says Paine.

The academy aims to be a catalyst for change, as sport is an opportunity to reach the youth and engage with them on various life skills, particularly elements such as time management, discipline, responsibility and accountability. This programme allows young people to believe that they have opportunities and choices available to them in life and equips them with the ability to make good decisions.

“Children need to be mentored and their value in society shown. Including them in participatory activities increases their self worth, which ultimately leads to positive young adults who make a valuable contribution to society now and in the future,” she says.

Under 12 to under 16 boys from the Kagiso, Munsieville and Swaneville areas will be participating in the season closing tournament taking place on Friday the 13th of September from 12h00 to 17h00, on Saturday, 14th September from 09h00 – 16h00 and on Sunday, 15th September from 09h00- 15h00. A friendly game between the Silverstar Academy and the U17 team from Ama-Tuks has also been organised for Sunday afternoon.

For more information on Tsogo Sun’s SunCares Sports Academy, go to