MultiChoice announced yesterday that it will support football and broadcasting development in the country.
The new multi-pronged Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme, the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, will include life skills and leadership development for players, television production internships and broadcast opportunities for community television, a football competition for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) academy clubs and scholarships for players.
“We want to make a real and lasting difference in South Africa,” said Imtiaz Patel, Group CEO for MultiChoice South Africa.
“The MultiChoice Diski Challenge will expose young players to a range of development opportunities on and off the field and will also give young production interns the necessary exposure and skills to succeed in the broadcasting industry. MultiChoice is extremely proud of this programme which is all about creating opportunities for the next generation of young South Africans,” Patel added.
The programme is a three-year partnership with the PSL with the focus on building the PSL’s Reserve League. In line with the PSL’s Club Licensing Programme, the primary emphasis will be on fast tracking the club’s under 19 talent into their first teams; with clubs limited to include a maximum of three players above the age of 20 in their reserve league teams.
The competition includes a round-robin league format and knockout phase for the 16 PSL teams; and will also equip players for life after football through life and leadership development skills as well as exposure to careers in broadcasting by attending a one week career conference at the MultiChoice campus.
Dr Irvin Khoza, Chairman of the PSL said the MultiChoice Diski Challenge addresses the need for PSL clubs to develop homegrown talent which will facilitate progression from academy football to the professional ranks.
“The comprehensive nature of the programme that we’re running with MultiChoice means that we will produce more well-rounded and better equipped players – for life on and off the field,” said Khoza.
“The competitive nature of the Premier League is such that young players quite often struggle to make the transition into the senior sides. We believe that this programme can be the game changer in facilitating the talent development pathway for up and coming players,” Khoza said.
The MultiChoice Diski Challenge tournament will kick off with a festival weekend in KwaZulu Natal in September 2014 and runs to March 2015. The winning team will receive a magnificent floating trophy and a life changing trip to Holland for a four-day training camp with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and their top youth coaches, as well as a match against a top Dutch team.
The team will also play two friendly games in Germany, home of the FIFA World Cup Champions, against two top Bundesliga teams.
SuperSport will broadcast the MultiChoice Diski Challenge matches live. It will give up to 43 production interns the chance to get on-the-field experience as the crew for the league. They will produce live games as well as a weekly magazine show under the guidance of experienced SuperSport production staff. These internships aim to attract more females into the world of sport production, with 50% of the interns being female.
The interns and the players will also benefit from five fully paid academic scholarships.
As part of this groundbreaking initiative, the games will be offered for broadcast to community television channels, which are already available on the DStv platform.
The first festival weekend of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge will be played in KwaZulu Natal on Saturday 13 September 2014, followed by a life skills workshop for players on Sunday 14 September before moving on to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein in the weeks ahead.