“Not Just About Kicking a Ball”: Football and Youth Development in Post-Apartheid South Africa is a paper-in-development for the 10th Annual Sport in Africa and the Global South Conference at Ohio University, April 10-12, 2014. Based on my experiences with the Izichwe Football Club in Summer 2013, I began to explore the way that the South African Football Association deploys development on a national level. This (lack of) focus on development was brought into stark focus in early 2014, when Bafana Bafana (the South African national football team) faced crushing losses from Nigeria and Brazil. Critiques of the team’s loss by South African sports administrators focused on insulting the players, failing to note the lack of structure and support that is critical to success on the international stage.
This paper will investigate the role of youth development in South African football in historical perspective, then present a case study of Izichwe, using this exemplary team as an example of what strong development programs can achieve. The presentation will also integrate sound bites and video clips from by time with Izichwe, as well as various other multimedia related to the project.