Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two entities collaborate till 2029.
Football is a very important sport in our country, it is the people’s sport – nothing unites or divides the nation quite like it. Stellenbosch University and Stellenbosch FC began their relationship back in 2018 when the club was still playing in the National First Division League, (now known as the Glad African Championship) and proceeded to later being promoted to the Premier Soccer League in May the next year. The sport-rich university town of Stellenbosch had overnight added a professional football team at the highest level to its impressive sport assets.
It has only been an upward trajectory for Stellenbosch FC in the last three years and evidence of this is their current 10 game unbeaten streak in the PSL. Even as the world came to a standstill because of Covid-19, Stellenbosch FC played the first ever official soccer match at the Danie Craven Stadium on the 25th October 2020 and now making it their home. Discussions between both stakeholders began with the goal of building a strong relationship that will be beneficial for football in Stellenbosch and this sparked the establishment of the MoU agreement and signing that took place earlier today.
The partnership will see Stellenbosch Football Club use the University’s Lentelus Football Complex for the purposes of training for three seasons (2022/2023) and the Danie Craven Stadium for Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches for nine seasons (2028/2029), all effective from the commencement of the 2021/2022 season. The MoU also details plans to uplift the quality of football at the university and greater Winelands community with a focus on youth training sessions and workshops.
Municipal Manager of Stellenbosch, Geraldine Mettler was delighted with the plans for the future thanks to the agreement between SU and SAS, “This partnership is incredibly important for the community of Stellenbosch and its future impact can be far-reaching particularly for upcoming footballers,” she said.
This was further expressed by home grown talent and Stellenbosch FC goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt who pointed out that it was an incredibly difficult journey becoming a professional footballer, as he had to leave home at the age of fifteen to pursue his dream. “I think it is great that young footballers now have both Stellenbosch FC and Maties football to aspire to play for, I did not have that when I was younger and am truly grateful to all parties involved that this agreement has been set in place.”
At the event, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said that “Sport has the unique ability to bring people together and create social cohesion, and that is precisely what the MOU between SU and the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport sets out to do. Football is the biggest global sport, so creating a platform in Stellenbosch to create career opportunities for talented young players, will have a positive impact on the university community, our town and the Western Cape,” he explained.
CEO of SAS and SFC, Mr Rob Benadie added that “Our Club’s strategic plan was fast-tracked with our immediate elevation to the PSL in 2019. Fortunately, we are based in a town with a rich sport heritage and have the University and other key stakeholders partnering with us to assist our continued growth. 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.
We hope to build on the incredible history that Maties Rugby has created and continues to generate at this venue. The Club sincerely thanks Messrs Johann Rupert and Jannie Durand from Remgro and Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operating Officer, and his Executives at the University in making this dream a reality. I am confident that this partnership is going to be a very exciting and successful journey that will benefit much more than football,” he concluded.