Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) have embarked on a multiyear collaboration to develop football players, football career opportunities as well as social cohesion in the Stellenbosch and broader Winelands football community. The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Maties Sport's office in Stellenbosch on Monday (11 October 2021).
The partnership will allow Stellenbosch Football Club (SFC) to train at the University's Lentelus football complex for three seasons, and will facilitate Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches at the Danie Craven stadium for nine seasons, all effective from 2021/22. This means that the collaboration will run until 2029.
At the official signing, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the MoU and its aim of bringing people together and creating social cohesion through sport. “Football is the biggest global sport, so establishing a platform in Stellenbosch to create career opportunities for talented young players will have a positive impact on not only our university community and town, but on the entire province," he said.
According to Mr Rob Benadie, SAS and SFC chief executive officer, the Stellenbosch club's strategic plan was fast-tracked with their immediate elevation to the PSL in 2019. “Fortunately, we are based in a town with a rich sport heritage. We have the University and other key stakeholders partnering with us to assist our continued growth," he said. “It is incredible to see how excited the town is about the SFC brand and the prospect of building a home fortress at the iconic Danie Craven stadium."
In addition to offering young talented players a platform to hone their skills, the partnership will also encourage the holistic development of players, support staff as well as administrators.
“We hope to build on the incredible history that Maties Rugby has created, and continues to generate, at the stadium," Benadie continued. “The club sincerely thanks Messrs Johann Rupert and Jannie Durand from Remgro as well as SU's Chief Operating Officer, Prof Stan du Plessis, and his executives for making this dream a reality. I am confident that this partnership will be a very exciting and successful journey, delivering benefits beyond football as well."