Mpumalanga Black Aces have announced a new International partnership with English Premier League side, Manchester City, as they attempt to bolster their club’s presence on the continent.
The deal, which is the first of its kind for Manchester City, will see Aces become City’s ‘Official Regional School of Football Partner’.
As part of the three-year partnership, the former English champions will deliver coaching programmes to local children, teaching them the same training techniques and philosophies used by their first team.
In addition to local children learning how to play the "City way", the Black Aces Academy coaches will also benefit from the delivery of a City Coach Education Programme, and will have the opportunity to shadow City’s coaches in South Africa. They will also travel to Manchester, where their academy will play games against the Club’s youth academy sides.
The hope of the two teams is that, through shared learning, Black Aces coaches will be empowered to transfer their newly obtained skills and knowledge back into their local communities, thus leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.
The football programmes will offer children the chance to improve and develop their football and educational skills in a fun and challenging environment.
Patrick Vieira, the Head of City’s Development Squad, said in a statement, "South Africa’s love of football was clear for the world to see during both the World Cup, and most recently the Cup of Nations. The national pride shown for hosting both tournaments is a testament to how the country and people embrace the sport.
"It’s a privilege for Manchester City to be part of South Arica’s youth football development by passing on our expertise to the Black Aces coaches, at a time when the country is fast becoming a force in world football. Through shared learning, both clubs’ can work together in order to provide children with a holistic football experience that places equal importance on football and education."
Meanwhile, Aces club owners and joint-Chairmen, Mario Morfou and George Morfou, welcomed the partnership and were delighted with their association with Manchester City.
They said, "On behalf of Black Aces Football Club, we are proud to announce that we have entered into a partnership with Manchester City Football Club. The partnership is incorporated within youth development through the Manchester City School of Football. We believe that this partnership will benefit our players in the academy and will also attract top-class young talent throughout the country.
"As part of the agreement, Manchester City will be sending qualified coaches to South Africa and Black Aces Academy will be sending teams to go over to Manchester City in order to showcase their talent. This is a wonderful opportunity for all our players to get a feel of what top class football is all about as well as what is expected of a professional footballer."
The coaching programmes will begin in July this year when Manchester City will be based in Durban, as part of City’s summer pre-season training camp.