The Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries Bulunga has officially launched the Pick’nPay/EFA Kick-off 2022 which is an U15 Football Development Programme which is targeted to both boys and girls. This programme’s sponsorship package is worth E807 090.00.
In his address, the Honourable Minister stated that this football development programme has the potential of becoming game changer and turning point for local football. “This launch here this morning truly is a momentous occasion and one that has the potential of providing to becoming a game changer and turning point for local football”, Bulunga said. In emphasising the significance of such programmes, the Honourable Minister highlighted that this programme was what our football has been crying out for. “This Pick 'n Pay -EFA Programme is exactly what our football has been crying out for”, Bulunga said.
“Such early identification of talent is critical in making sure that players can then be put in well-planned nurturing system, ensuring that their rough talents are polished and refined to maximum impact when they reach the elite levels. Not only that, but this programme will go to assist in bridging the gap that has long existed between elite level and grassroots football”, the Honourable Minister said. He was also ecstatic that this football development programme includes the girl child which will contribute immensely towards the women sport development programmes in the country. “Perhaps the standout feature of this programme is its equal focus on both girls and boys, ensuring that, for once, our girls are not left behind in sport development. From today onwards, we are taking the girl child with us in football”, Bulunga said.
The President of the EFA Mr. Peter Simelane expressed the organization’s delight in this partnership with P 'n P as it will address the gap in as far as the football development programmes are concerned. “This development is coherent with our association’s resolution of pioneering extensive and comprehensive improvements in the sporting industry as we strive to constantly deliver products abd services that will expedite football development and ultimately national growth. The U15 age category has been observed as a glaring gap in the development of players as you would normally observe some programmes at U13 and U17. This U15 project will therefore bridge this significant gap in the player development pathway”, Simelane said.
P 'n P Lojaf’s Retail Executive Mr. Nuno Xavier concurred with the EFA’s President as he also highlighted that this football development programme will reduce the huge gap in as far as football development is concerned. “The EFA needs partners to implement her mandate to structure, develop, promote and deliver quality football to all stakeholders in Eswatini, hence the proposal to Lojaf Pick ‘n Pay to invest in football development”, Xavier said. He also stated that, this programme will satisfy both the business objectives of P ‘n P and the technical development objectives of EFA.
This annual football development programme will commence on the 23rd April and ends on the 17st September 2021 and will also be implemented concurrently with the in-store promotions by P 'n P as part of it. A total of 80 teams will be participating from 10 zones aof the EFA where the P ‘n P Stores are located. These stores are Mashayitafula, The Crescent, The Gables, Mahhala, Riverstone, The Hub, Malkerns, Nhlangano, Mbabane and Siteki.