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The Football Foundation of South Africa (FFSA) was established with the dual aims of achieving greater social integration in the Gansbaai region and educating and empowering youth, using sports as a vehicle for change.

Our multiple award winning programme launched in 2008, with the construction of a multipurpose sports facility, including a showpiece, a full-size, third generation (3G) FIFA standard artificial soccer pitch (sponsored by the English Premier League), situated at the cusp of traditionally segregated black, white and coloured areas of Gansbaai. This was achieved with the invaluable assistance of Sir Dave Richards, then chair of the English Premier League, (which still contributes funding to the project). We have also been assisted by members of the Overstrand Municipality, ABSA Bank and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, all of whom helped us fund equipment and maintain the facility. 

The Football Foundation runs football, netball, hockey and athletics training sessions in Gansbaai, Stanford and Hermanus, which engage approximately 2000 youths each week. In addition to these sessions, we also run programmes centered on HIV education, female empowerment, environmental education, proper nutrition, enterprise development and integration. With this flagship programme, we aim to uplift communities by empowering individuals through sports programmes, including accredited skills training and leadership opportunities, and simultanously promote education, health, social integration and participation through sports. Today we facilitate a great number of projects for 7 000 boys and girls in the Overstrand area, six days a week, as well as facilitating programmes in other areas of the Western Cape and organised weekend excursions, matches and fixtures.


  • Uplift communities by empowering individuals through skills training and leadership opportunities.
  • Encourage education, health and wellbeing, social integration and community participation.
  • Support and initiate grassroots sports development in South Africa by providing access to education, resources, facilities and equipment.


Weekly Sports Programmes

The Football Foundation’s sports development programmes comprise training five days per week, with games, tournaments and coaching clinics taking place on weekends. Dedicated coaches and volunteers run football, netball, hockey and cricket coaching sessions and education lessons for the youth in the Gansbaai area, developing boys and girls from the age 6 through to 19.


Holiday programmes in Gansbaai, Hermanus and Hout Bay are a highlight on the Foundation’s calendar, and attract children from these communities for weeks of fun, games and educational activities.


Awareness programmes are launched around important days in South Africa like Youth Day, Women’s Day, Human Rights Day and World Aids Day. Children learn about significant events in history, as well as social and environmental issues pertinent and relevant in contemporary society. The Foundation also extends its reach to the broader Overberg area, conducting coaching clinics and holiday camps in neighboring communities.

The Guys FC

A crucial part of this development plan is keeping the older players involved in the Foundation’s programmes once they leave school. The Foundation has achieved this by establishing a senior football club with the Local Football Association (SAFA) - this has the potential to form the backbone of coaching programmes, and effectively places the future sustainability back in the hands of the community and football players.


As a result of the tremendous success of our football programme and the demand for other sports codes, field hockey was introduced in 2009. After a visit to Grootbos, former German Bundesliga player, Delf Ness (Der Club an der Alster, Hamburg) was inspired to launch the Alster Grootbos Hockey Project, bring the sport to Gansbaai for the first time. This project started out solely with support from Alster Hockey Club, but through dedicated campaigning has subsequently garnered the support of a number of large hockey clubs in Hamburg and further afield. Led by Delf Ness and Nicola Knaust, the Club hosts a fundraiser every year in aid of our Foundation, donating hockey equipment and playing an important role in recruiting hockey volunteers to assist us.

Hockey has a reputation as a healthy sport, is played by both girls and boys, promotes teamwork and hand-eye coordination, and is excellent for endurance. It is generally still regarded as an elite sport in South Africa, played mostly in affluent communities, and our aim is to take hockey to rural communities and give children who would otherwise never have been exposed to it, equal opportunity to play and learn.


This project was launched with generous support from Airtours in Germany. It aims at giving children from marginalised communities the opportunity to participate in organised athletics training programmes, to learn about their environment, and to get access to training opportunities in tourism and guiding. The project harnesses sport and tourism to give young people access to career education, training and nature guiding. There is a great need for induction to career paths and job opportunities, specifically in tourism due to a demand for skilled professionals in the sector.

Under direction of Coach Corrie Avenant, a number of young athletes have completed their Field Guides Association of South Africa Junior Guiding Certificates, and have the opportunity to shadow senior guides as part of a job training initiative. During Cross Country season the athletes travel all over the Western Cape to partake in races - this greatly broadens their horizons and gives children from rural communities the opportunity to travel and see other parts of the country.

Athletics was selected because it can be practiced anywhere - on a beach, a mountain or a forest - no equipment is needed and also because it is not age-specific and is gender equal. Athletes can also compete against themselves by setting personal goals, which teaches children individual responsibility and empowers them.

This project is also excellent in helping us promote the breaking down of racial, social and gender barriers, as well as promoting female empowerment. A substantial number of girls is enrolled in the project.

Female Empowerment

Our Football Foundation female empowerment project promotes educational activities and discussions for young women in Overberg communities. It focuses on helping young girls and women to understand the importance of having female role models and becoming peer leaders in their own communities.

It also addresses pertinent issues such as the importance of speaking out about sex crimes and using preventative techniques to combat teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, and also offers like skills training programmes in areas such as food and nutrition.

Dibanisa: Conservation

Our Dibanisa youth environmental education & sport project is a unique after-school edutainment program that combines sport and natural education excursions to encourage environmental appreciation. Focusing on the fynbos and marine environments - the main ecosystems in the Overstrand area - keeps it local and relevant.

It is an action-packed and aims to teach children about the environment in a fun and practical way, whilst cultivating a love for nature and promoting social change. As part of this programme, sport is also used as a tool to address health and social issues, as well as career education and training. From an environmental perspective, Dibanisa teaches children more about fynbos and the marine environment, focusing on the inhabitants of the ocean as well as the effect of pollution on our marine ecosystems.

Dibanisa places a special emphasis on the social dimensions of environmental issues. Its focus is on creating a generation of young leaders that possess the awareness, attitudes, knowledge, skills and motivation needed to conserve and protect the natural environment and combat the threats it faces. It nurtures a love for the environment amongst participants and through fun activities also promotes health awareness, skills development and social integration.

Coaching Skills: Hout Bay

Based on the success of our Overberg sports programmes, we recently launched a new coaching skills training initiative in CapeTown, in partnership with eta College (www.etacollege.com) and the City of Cape Town.

Conducted with youth of the Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu communities in Hout Bay, Cape Town (which shares a very similar social geography to that of Gansbaai) the programme aims to unite three divided communities (who live within walking distance but rarely engage one another) through integrated sport and development initiatives that encourage social inclusion, understanding and acceptance.

Our first accredited training programme ran over 18 sessions from February - June 2014. The vocational CATHSSETA accredited qualification skills programme was conducted through a combination of fitness workshops and classroom-based teaching. The curriculum covered employment, community and sports development, resource mobilisation, small business administration, financial management and personal development.

What was unique about this programme is their practical assignment - developing a community-based project that should run for at least 6 months after graduation, with a strong element of sustainability to ensure maximum community benefit.


  • 23 students graduated through the programme with a CATHSETA qualification.
  • Work and voluntary placements have been provided by the City of Cape Town’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), the Kronendal Primary School, local NGO ABC for Life and the Cricket School of Excellence.
  • A socially and culturally integrated programme with an average of 52% from the black and 48% from the coloured communities helped stimulate greater social intergration and understanding.
  • 4 new community projects launched as a direct result of the programme: 2 in Imizamo Yethu and 2 in Hangberg.

Food for Sport

Food for Sport is an 11-week training program, based at a school or sports club, teaching school invaluable lessons in organic food production, nutrition and life skills. Beside the “easy to understand” and visual learning material, each lesson is jam-packed with exciting practical exercises in vegetable production, in a vegetable garden which the school recieves through the programme. Food production and learning is linked directly with sport, through an integrated curriculum, creating a fun and enriching experience for the 20+ children involved in each group. Healthy eating is encouraged and food production becomes an attractive and engaging activity - mirroring the current global trend of organic food production.

Ultimately, the aim of the project is to introduce this strategy to poor communities using sport and to provide food solutions where they are most needed. The project supports children from vulnerable, marginalised communities. Participation is free of charge and offers equal access, whilst maintaining 50% female participation.

Inclusive Integration Sports Programme (IISP)

The purpose of providing inclusive integrated sports sessions is to promote sustainable cross-community contact between the different communities of Gansbaai. Our sessions consist primarily of fun games and team-building activities that ensure every participant, regardless of gender, ability level or ethnic background has the opportunity to participate.

The programme aims to support the Foundation's mission of using sport as a tool for 'social integration and participation'. With these sessions, we aim to promote an atmosphere of togetherness on a regular basis throughout the year in order to enhance the programme’s impact on the community. The programme's key objectives are:

  • To provide fun and inclusive sporting activities across genders and communities by enhancing basic FUNdamentals and a range of transferable sporting skills.
  • To provide continuous opportunities for social interaction and communication across segregated communities. 
  • To promote mutual understanding, co-operation and the development of friendships across communities.


The children are split evenly into groups according to their gender and school and are encouraged to work with people they don’t know, which greatly increases each child’s opportunity to meet new people, especially since most of the activities involve a great deal of team work. Fun and playing together form the key emphasis of the sessions, which has led to some children becoming involved in the Foundation's other sport programmes that run throughout the week.


The Grootbos Foundation together with the Stanford Canoe club launched a development program to introduce youngsters from all communities in and around Stanford to canoeing. Stanford is home to one of the most beautiful stretches of river in the Western Cape, yet the majority of children in the town have little access to the river and no access to canoeing equipment.

Starting in April 2016 we have been working with 30 children from all walks of life in providing equipment and training and opening up the exciting World of paddling in Stanford. In conjunction with the Stanford Canoe Club committee, the Grootbos Foundation provides dedicated staff and volunteers to coach children between the ages of eight and eighteen in twice-weekly training sessions. We are very proud of the progress made by our team, culminating in them participating in the Western Province Canoe Unions Triple Series regattas at the end of 2016. In 2017 we are hoping to double the number of children involved in this exciting program and strongly cement canoeing as one of our core-sports that we support in the region.

Learn To Swim - Water Safety Programme

The Learn To Swim water safety programme started in September this year with the goal of making children in our community water safe. Drowning remains one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in children under 7, especially in a community surrounded by bodies of water.

The water safety programme aims to give children the tools to enter and exit the pool safely, return to the side of a pool, how to float and the confience and ability to remain calm in the water. The first roll out saw 59 Grade R's from Masakhane primary school go through the basics of water safety and we are hoping to include these successfull graduates in a second phase roll out to Grade 1's, in the new year, which will work with the children to get them to the point where they are confident to swim unassisted. 

The funds for the swimming pool for this programme were raised by volunteers and coaches of the Football Foundation, where family and friends sponsored them as they undertook a three day 90 km run from Danger Point to Agulhas. We are looking forward to a new year and helping many more children in our community with the tools to be water safe!