Bundesliga International partners with Safe-Hub to deliver youth football series in South Africa

Florian Zech (founder of AMANDLA Social Enterprises and Safe-Hub, left) with Henning Brinkmann (Bundesliga International, Head of EMEA) and Jay-Jay Okocha (member of the Bundesliga Legends Network), announced a partnership between Bundesliga International and Safe-Hub in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpage Pictures
  • The “Bundesliga x Safe-Hub Series” will see football tournaments held over a four-month period, culminating in the “Bundesliga x Safe-Hub Series Finals”
  • Kick-off event on Saturday, featuring Bundesliga Legend Jay-Jay Okocha and former South African and Bundesliga player Sibusiso Zuma
  • Aim of the Safe-Hubs is to give young people a safe space to access holistic support and opportunities to realise their full potential
  • Football project supported by Bundesliga broadcasters StarTimes/Sat and SABC

8 December 2023 – Bundesliga International has partnered with Safe-Hub in South Africa to launch the “Bundesliga x Safe-Hub Series”, a four-month fair play tournament series, with the aim of creating a safe space for children and young adults to play football and engage with educational and sporting programmes.

Safe-Hub creates communities in collaboration with local partners so that young people and communities can thrive. The aim is to realise a vision for an equal world by improving access to support and opportunity in under-resourced neighbourhoods.

The partnership was unveiled at a press conference on Thursday evening, ahead of the Bundesliga’s 60th anniversary celebrations in Johannesburg. Henning Brinkmann, Bundesliga International Head of AVR for Africa, Europe and the Middle East, was joined by Florian Zech, founder of AMANDLA Social Enterprises and Safe-Hub to announce the initiative. Andreas Peschke, German Ambassador to South Africa, was also in attendance.

Over the second half of the 2023-24 Bundesliga season, Bundesliga International and Safe-Hub will host weekend qualification tournaments, with children of all ages teaming up to qualify for the “Bundesliga x Safe-Hub Series Finals”, scheduled for May, 2024.

It is a privilege to partner with Safe-Hub for this tournament series, and to play a small work in the life-changing work they are doing in South Africa.

Peer Naubert, Chief Marketing Officer, Bundesliga International

To celebrate the project’s launch, the Safe-Hub in Alexandra, Johannesburg, will host a kick-off event on Saturday 9 December, attended by Bundesliga Legend Jay-Jay Okocha, as well as Sibusiso Zuma, former South African national team and Arminia Bielefeld striker. The former greats will be joined by football influencers and content creators, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Andile Dlamini, in a celebration of German and South African cultures, with children from the local community taking to the field for a Bundesliga five-a-side tournament, as well as local artists and DJs performing throughout the day. At the end of the tournament, football fans are invited to stay and watch Okocha’s former club, Eintracht Frankfurt, take on reigning Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München as part of the Bundesliga’s “Super Matchday” weekend.

Bundesliga International’s South African media partners StarTimes/Sat and SABC were also present at the event, with SABC broadcasting Eintracht’s match with Bayern directly from the Safe-Hub. Both broadcasters will continue to support the project over the course of next year, ensuring widespread national coverage of the activation and of the vital service the Safe-Hubs provide.

Bundesliga Legend Jay-Jay Okocha (left) talks with moderator Mosibodi Whitehead and media at the launch of the “Bundesliga x Safe-Hub Series”.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpage Pictures

Bundesliga International Chief Marketing Officer Peer Naubert said: “The Bundesliga has long been a league at the heart of the community; that begins in Germany, where clubs are a focal point of their towns and cities. But it extends much further than that, and we are committed to ensuring that football plays a positive impact in the lives of young people at all levels.”

“It is a privilege to partner with Safe-Hub for this tournament series, and to play a small work in the life-changing work they are doing in South Africa.”

Bundesliga Legend Jay-Jay Okocha said: “In Africa, football means everything. Wherever you go, you see children playing, it is how I fell in love with the sport. I believe this project will be a great opportunity for young kids to enjoy football in a safe space, and will have a huge benefit, not only for them but for the community as a whole.”

CEO of AMANDLA and Safe-Hub, Florian Zech said: “This initiative is not just about football; it’s about harnessing the power of sport to inspire young people to become change makers in their community. Our Safe-Hubs have always been more than just a place to play – they are drivers of holistic youth and community development. We are excited to collaborate with Bundesliga International to create an environment where the spirit of youth is celebrated through the universal language of football.”