Vodacom NXT LVL was launched this year as a cool soccer campaign that’s all about giving young gifted footballers between the ages of 14 and 16 the freedom to explore their talents and getting a springboard to a professional career in the game loved by so many around the world.
Entrants needed to upload a video of their skills and get the public to vote for them to get into the top 100 and after a nationwide talent search, even in some remote areas of South Africa the top 100 got called up to boot camp.
There they got to lift their game with the likes of former Bafana Bafana Captain, Lucas Radebe and Bafana star, Mark Fish as well as former Banyana Banyana u17 Captain, Shorty Ndludlu.
The chosen 100, both boys and girls, spent a week at the Vodacom NXT LVL Boot Camp, High Performance Centre where they underwent scientific tests, received intense training and good coaching just like everyday professional footballers normally would.
Based on their skills and talents the group got cut down to 32 players, which in turn got divided into two teams of 16 each who faced off in a live exhibition game. Team Fish won the match 2-1 at Tuks Stadium and the winning team all received a full scholarship to the Tuks Sports High School while the runner ups each received R50 000 towards their education through a fund administered by the Vodacom Foundation.
As the 32 children returned home from the High Performance Centre, the final match winners who were part of Team Fish would be packing their bags soon to return back next year when their scholarships kick in until they pass matric. This initiative will go a long way in solving the problem of footballers who go broke after retiring as it combines football and education.