Soccer in South Africa has its competition in Rugby even though it may be considered as the most popular as a result of the competitive nature of the Premier Soccer League in the country.
The popularity of the game in the Southern African nation has led to the increasingly growing number of followers which has also motivated young people to consider a career in it.
However, to play Professionally, there are steps that must be followed on your part as an individual since no one from the end of the clubs has clear knowledge about you.
Since the South African league is Ranked among the best on the African continent in terms of organization, television exposure, and revenue, it would be worthwhile to consider a career in it.
As per the CAF Club five year ranking system, the league has been ranked as the fourth-best league following success recorded by Mamelodi Sundowns within the past few years which includes representing Africa in the FIFA Club World Cup.
To achieve the status of a Professional football player in South Africa, you should take time to examine yourself and develop the right attitude which would serve as a guide.
Here’s a detailed plan you should consider working with
1. Start at a younger age
Even though South Africa has not done well in age-grade competition compared to the nations like Nigeria and Ghana, that did not mean you should neglect to start from small.
If you start playing at your tender age, you become used to the system and possibly know how to go about it.
Of course, Professional clubs like Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United, and Orlando Pirates are always on the lookout for young players to fill in their Academies.
Who knows, as you continue playing, you could get the chance to join one of these clubs.
How can you join South African football Academies?
Visit the club’s training ground or its cooperating office in any part of the country. Apply for entry and you are eligible, you will be recruited into the junior team.
2. Develop a training schedule that will suit you
You know Rugby is another sport competing with Soccer in the country as well as other local sports activities across various regions. That well said you should stick to your dream to become a Professional in Soccer.
Create a training schedule that will not interfere with your daily routine.
3. Choose a particular role and stick to it
Do you know what made Percy Tau, Siphiwe Tshabalala better forwards for the club and the national team? Simply put, they play a particular role right from the onset and kept on with it. If you’d like to be a defender or an attacker, ensure you stick with it anywhere you go.
Also think of Thulani Tyson Hlatshwayo, who’s regarded as one of the best defenders in the Premier Soccer League. He’s been consistent with his role as a defender.
Take a good look at yourself, know your abilities, and work on them and translate them to the role you want to play as a footballer. If you decide to become an attacker, you should stick to it.
What makes you standout is when you choose a particular role and constantly work on yourself until you are better at it. If you are planing to be a utility player, I will advise you take a second thought about it.
4. Travel to places in South Africa with more football activities
If your current location is not favourable, you are free to move around the country as long as you from the country, because you will have no issue without a visa.
In the country places like Johannesburg (Soweto), Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town are good places you always visit. These places house the biggest soccer clubs in the nation.
Move out of your current location it is not helping you towards achieving your goals.
5. Attend Scout Camps
Attend tournaments where scouts normally visit. You could get impress them and you know what that means, your journey starts from there.
Training camps are organized for the sole purpose of picking young and talented players for clubs looking for players. Try your best to follow magazines, social media platforms, as they could contain information you are looking for.
You can consider visiting the city of Soweto where clubs like Moroka Swallows, Orlando Pirates, and Kaizer Chiefs are located.
Camps are important places you should consider visiting, since it offers numerous opportunities that would boost your chances of making it in your career.
6. Join a football Academy
Your next destination should be the soccer academy. An Academy is one of the easiest ways to connect with a soccer club within a short period.
Its purpose is to bridge the gap between you and an already established club.
Most clubs in the country send scouts or representatives to academies for possible selection of players for their team.
These scouts may not be familiar with the local environment and as such, the main destination is the academy.
If you are consistent, you could catch their attention.
Some of the top Academies in South Africa
Football Academy Plus, African Brothers Football Academy, Diambars Football Academy, Total Football Academy, Young Bafana Soccer Academy, Liverpool FC International Soccer Academy South Africa, Prestige Football Development Academy, Stars Of Africa Football Academy (source: briefly.co.za).
7. Join a local team
Do not limit yourself to training camps alone, also think of some local teams around your vicinity. You could get a chance to play professionally from there. Scouts do visit local football grounds occasionally and could get lucky.
Playing for a local club would help you increase your level of exposure. Have it at the back of your mind that local teams do help a lot. So take it upon yourself to play for a local team within your vicinity. You could get the chance to play for a big club.
Your local club is another avenue to gain exposure. Sometimes followers can easily spot you from there.
8. Develop a passion for Soccer
Soccer is a game full of passion. Ensure you have a club so you support it as it would also serve as motivation to you.
If you must succeed, you need to develop a passion for the game. If there’s no passion, there would be no driving force. Ensure you develop a passion for soccer as a sport.
Passion would help you know when to take the next step. If you are not interested current happens, there’s no way you can be motivated.
9. Ensure you have the skill
Scouts are on the lookout for the best out there. So, ensure you have the basic skills like shooting, running, heading, jumping, etc.
If you are poor in these areas, then you should consider going back to learning. Learn these basic skills and you are good to go.
If you find it difficult to learn these skills, you can go to special technical training with experienced coaches or a sports seminar aimed at teaching young footballers. You can also engage in group training where you can learn from other players.
10. Look for an Agent (Organizations)
One of the major steps towards achieving your dreams is to look for another that can help you secure clubs for you. You can also sign up with soccer organizations and they help you achieve your goals within a short time.
If you have no idea where to start, the internet is the best place for you to search for organizations or agents in your country. In South Africa, there are numerous Agents and organizations looking for players.
Just do the research yourself and you are good to go.
11. Visit the official websites of football clubs
South African clubs are very active on various media channels including their official website. Some clubs post updates relating to the youth development section of their clubs and you can benefit from there.
If there’s an update on any recruitment, trials, you will be the first to know about it. Also, follow their social handles for updates concerning their Academy.
12. Complete CV
Ensure to have complete documents. If you do not have an ID card, look for ways to get one for yourself. As you go further the need for ID cards, Voters Card, National Passport, Birth Certificate, Medical Report, will arise. Try to have these documents mentioned above are in your possession.
Your CV is very important.
14. Eat the right food
Always look for food recommended for athletes. These classes of food will enhance your performance on and off the pitch. The type of food you eat should comply with the normal balanced diet recommended by medical doctors.