Vodacom partners Motherwell soccer body on pilot player verification system

JUNE 6, 2016

Network giant Vodacom announced on Monday it would be partnering with the Inqaku and Motherwell Football Association to host the NXT LVL school soccer tournament on June 17-18.

Aimed at not only promoting football in the area, the tournament, which is expected to attract 62 boys and girls teams from 32 schools, will also see Vodacom launch its new player verification and fan communication system, designed to eradicate age and identity cheating measures.

Using SIM-cards as a type of digital ID, each participating player will have their name and tournament stats displayed when they enter the competition. According to Inqaku’s Craig Rivett, some 1 200 players, parents, coaches and referees are enrolled via the South African Football Association’s digital registrar.

“We use our mobile phones to organise and manage our everyday lives. It was only a matter of time before we would start using them to facilitate football, cut-out age cheating and build a new formalised football platform,” Rivett said during the media launch at Vodacom’s Newton Park offices.

“We want communities to get behind our club and school teams, not just those in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). We want it to be citizen-centric and are therefore excited to see it in action”.

Speaking at the same event, SAFA National Executive Council member and Schools Football Committee Head, Mzimkhulu Fina, said mass participation at school level has been failing in recent years, and that it felt something had to be done in order to revive it.

“Many of the country’s top players started at school level and with Motherwell being the third biggest township in the country, it was decided to commence the pilot here. We want school children to play and want to grow this tournament,” Fina said.

Although only in pilot form, Fina said future rollouts across the country would depend on it being successful in Motherwell followed by the remaining eight zones in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Vodacom Brand Director Mzamo Masito said the operator has had a history of empowering South Africans through technology, and that it hopes to create an engaging platform through the tournament.

“Young South Africans often dream of making it in life and often it just remains a dream, but through Vodacom NXT LVL, any aspiring soccer has the chance to be discovered and to take their talent and passion to greater heights,” he said.

The tournament will coincide with the NXT LVL talent search initiative that will see the best 14-16 years in the country attending a boot camp with soccer greats Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish, as well as former Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini, with the top player walking away with a full TUKS Sports High School scholarship.


PIC: (L-R) Back: SAFA National Executive Council member and Schools Football Committee Head, Mzimkhulu Fina; Inqaku’s Craig Rivett; Vodacom Eastern Cape Region Managing Executive Carol Hall. Front (L-R): Sandile Mlo (Vulumzi Senior Secondary School); Lonwabo Bayeni (Dumani Primary); Hlumelo Bevu (Dumani Primary); Anelisa Ndyebi (Vulumzi Senior Secondary School)