Starting on May 20, 2017, the Nike Academy will provide a weekly pro-level training session where 40 young footballers will develop their skills under the expert guidance of coaches and mentors for ten weeks every season.
Nike Academy head coach Arthur Zwane will be supported by assistant coaches Stanton Fredricks and Cyril Nzama, who will focus on game play and technical drills, match day tactics and analysis, while Percy Moloi will further develop players through strength and conditioning coaching.
Twice during the ten week training programme, the squad will compete in an exhibition match against professional teams, with the opportunity of being scouted and invited to trial with the club.
A former pro-footballer himself, Zwane is passionate about football development in South Africa and is excited at the prospect of uncovering new talent through the Nike Academy, which will complement and contribute to local football development.
“The Nike Academy is a catalyst for aspiring young footballers to be identified and fast-tracked into professional structures. This is a great programme to inspire the next generation of talented players,” said Zwane.
“We have witnessed so many young footballers unearthed at Nike trials such as ‘The Chance’ and ‘Most Wanted, and this is another great extension of Nike’s commitment to sustainable football development in South Africa.”
South Africa’s own Reyaad Pieterse won the 'Most Wanted' trials in South Africa in 2011, before competing at and winning the global finals in 2012 and going on to sign his first pro-contract with Shamrock Rovers in Ireland.
Upon returning to South Africa, he joined Kaizer Chiefs and is now the number one goal keeper at SuperSport United.
As a platform that will contribute to national development structures, the Nike Football Academy will work closely with the South African Football Association (SAFA), Kaizer Chiefs and Soweto Local Football Association to ensure the long term sustainability and effectiveness of the programme.
The Nike Academy will be based at the recently refurbished Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto, and is open to all aspiring footballers aged 16 to 20 years.
Registration for the first round of trials opened on May 9, and will be followed by the first two-day trials to be hosted on May 20 and 21.
There is no cost to join the Nike Academy, but footballers will have to reserve their spot online at Nike.com/Joburg and be available and committed to train every Monday night. No walk-ins will be accepted.
Each season will commence with a two-day trialling opportunity where the 40 players with the most potential will be selected to join the full 10-week training program. Players can try out for each new season if they don’t make the prevous trial.