Uruguay Soccer Development in Northern Cape - August 2011
As a result of the close links established in 2010 during the World Cup when the Uruguayan National soccer team had their base camp in Kimberley, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) agreed to assist with a soccer youth development programme in the Northern Cape and signed a declaration of intent in that regard with the government of the Northern Cape after the World Cup.
The Northern Cape Government, the Municipality of Kimberley and the people of the city gave the Uruguayan team a very warm welcome on their arrival and supported them throughout the World Cup. The hospitality extended to the very successful Uruguayan team is something that was highly appreciated by the people of Uruguay and Kimberly has been placed on the map in Uruguay.
During his recent visit to the Northern Cape as part of the provincial outreach at the conclusion of the recent Head of Mission Conference in South Africa, Ambassador Dawie Jacobs, Head of Mission/Charge D’Affaires of the South African Embassy in Montevideo, discussed the issue of Uruguayan assistance to soccer development again with the government of the Northern Cape. The issue has also been raised by him on a regular basis during discussions with Uruguayan local soccer authorities, following the World Cup.
The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) has now decided to send their Director for Technical Development, Mr Daniel Banales, on a fact finding mission to evaluate the level of soccer, facilities and opportunities for cooperation in Kimberley and the Northern Cape in general. He will then provide feedback to AUF and based on the findings a formal agreement on cooperation in respect of a soccer youth development programme could then be finalized. Mr Banales will visit South Africa from 24 August to 09 September 2011.
The “matching” of Uruguay and the Northern Cape for soccer development is realistic: Uruguay is one of the leading countries in world soccer today and since it has its own challenges within Uruguay with the development of sport in rural areas, they are well placed to guide and assist the Northern Cape. Given its size, Uruguay does of course not have the huge financial resources of soccer playing countries like Germany to put into the development of sport in other countries, but that is why support to the Northern Cape with a small population makes sense.
This concrete outcome flowing from the positive impact of the World Cup is very positive and confirms the strength of our “soft power”, namely our people. The fact that the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) is honouring their commitment by taking the first concrete step towards support to soccer development in the Northern Cape is not only a reflection of the strong ties established during the World Cup, but is also in line with the longstanding and cordial ties between our two countries, also and especially in the area of cooperation on sport and the exchange of teams, mainly soccer, rugby and hockey in both directions.
INPUT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY, MONTEVIDEO.