Nelson Mandela University’s campus football league has scored big time after linking up with the MySafa registration platform this year.
The official SA Football Association’s Fifa-integrated player registration and competition system manages all levels of the sport – from grassroots to professional.
All the Safa leagues use the portal to register players, publish fixtures and capture results.
Players on the database are issued Fifa Connect IDs, which are used to record transfers, identify talent and ensure that clubs are rewarded for developing players.
Madibaz Sport football manager Mark Tommy said the growth of the league had created the need for the competition to run on a more professional basis.
First organised by the Student Representative Council in the early 2000s, it has grown from eight men’s teams in the first year to 28.
Women play futsal, a type of indoor soccer on a smaller court. With women’s football classed a development code in terms of on-campus students, this format benefits them as it promotes contact with the ball.
Tommy, who joined Madibaz Sport in 2008, explained that one of his key objectives was to respond to the organic growth of on-campus football as a result of increasing enrolment figures.
“In addition, the increase of on-campus student accommodation has seen a huge overflow and demand for playing football,” he said.
Historically, the league was played as a one-round competition on a round-robin format, plus a Top-Eight Knockout Cup.
“From this year, we have transitioned the league, which is restricted to bona-fide Mandela University students, into a strength versus strength structure,” said Tommy.
Division one consists of 16 teams and division two of 12.
He said the league tied in with Madibaz Football’s pillars of creating performance leagues for Safa players, developing mass participation leagues for campus residences and engaging with youngsters through the schools-based football talent identification and recruitment programme.
Inqaku general manager Shane Felix, whose company developed the software for the platform, said he was delighted to link up with Nelson Mandela University.
The Gqeberha tertiary institution is the first to use MySafa, which offers benefits like ensuring the eligibility of players while providing regular, up-to-date information on the progress of teams.
“That creates excitement and hype around the competition as it builds a soccer community with a vested interest in these leagues,” Felix said. “This system also provides a record of players from any team, so the progress of anyone can be tracked.”
Therefore, if a player is signed by a professional club, the Fifa training and rewards programme makes it possible to compensate clubs involved in the development of that player.
Felix added that his company was honoured to be piloting the platform with Mandela University to give its league better structure and exposure. He said other varsities were now “buying into the whole concept” as well.
Keep track of Madibaz Campus Football league at www.inqaku.com.