Senegal’s 2002 FIFA World Cup star, Khalilou Fadiga, is in the country as part of the FIFA Talent Development Scheme (TDS) project.
The 48-year old was the guest when the Under-17 national team for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria was announced at SAFA House.
Fadiga is also joined by FIFA High-Performance Specialist, Abdul-Faisal.
Talent Development Scheme (TDS) is part of a commitment by football’s world governing body to provide tailor-made assistance to member associations, to meet their specific needs and to help them harness their talent.
The initiative forms part of an effort by FIFA to close the gap between the world’s top football nations and the minnows.
Fadiga was part of the famous Senegal team at 2002 World Cup, that famously beat World Champions, France.
That team also went on to reach the quarterfinals at that same tournament.
He hung up his boots twelve years ago to focus on talent development.
“We are here for FIFA’s football talent development scheme and we arrived yesterday, we will spend the whole week to exchange ideas with SAFA’s president Danny Jordaan. We will also look at ways and improve football talent here in South Africa.”
TDS coach, Dean Selvey from England, is in the country for several months, working with various youth coaches.
And, FIFA High Performance Specialist, Abdul Faisal, says the scheme is making an impact in a short space of time.
“It’s one of the areas that we deserve to do system analysis and we are here to support the federation, dean has been in the country for couple of months working with the youth national team coaches, he is not telling them what to do he is just supporting, it’s been great to have him here and expose them to some of the high performance environment that they would be facing in the future, it’s just one of the support programme that is part of the talent development scheme.”
The SA Under-17 team will take part in the Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria at the end of the month.
Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena will be the assistant coach.
SAFA President Danny Jordaan says winning the junior AFCON is a good omen for the national team.
“All of the teams that have done well in the U17 has eventually won the World Cup, if you look at Brazil U17, Argentina U17, France U17 team winning the World Cup in the end, the only missing link is the African teams that have not made it.”
Meanwhile, Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, will be among the recipients honoured with the National Order of Ikhamanga by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Order recognises individuals who have excelled in the Arts, Culture, Literature, Music, Journalism and Sport in South Africa.
“For me it’s still emotional, I know it’s a huge nomination similar to being knighted in England, I say thank you to SAFA for the support given.”
Ellis was nominated for guiding Banyana Banyana to the maiden Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title last year in Morocco.