DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 04, Match ball during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Platinum Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium on December 04, 2012 in Durban, South Africa Photo by Steve Haag / Gallo Images

Johannesburg – The South African Football Association (Safa) on Monday announced that the Motsepe Foundation would sponsor the Safa Second Division League for the next five years as part of the soccer body's commitment to focus on youth development.

Safa president Danny Jordaan said the announcement was a historic day for South African football and the development of the sport in the country.

“This is a great boost for South African football and we want to thank the Motsepe Foundation for their consistency in supporting grassroots development which is the most important sector of football,” Jordaan said.

“The Second Division is the last leg before teams progress into the professional ranks and it is therefore Safa’s responsibility to make sure teams are financially viable as well as to have proper developmental structures.”

The league will now be known as the ABC Motsepe League, and will carry a first prize of R1 million to the winning team of which R200,000 will be used by the winning team for development purposes.

There will be a runner up prize of R500,000 of which R100,000 is to used by the runner up for development purposes.

Safa said the Motsepe Foundation has responded to a request by Safa to partner the organisation to develop soccer at the lower levels in order to grow South African football.

The Motsepe Foundation has placed a stern age criteria as a condition to the sponsorship which would see six Under-21 players included per team for each game.

It would also explore ways to develop administration at all levels in order to establish sound management of the league and improve football administration in the country.

Safa said with 144 teams playing in the ABC Motsepe league, it would mean that in excess of 1500 players under the age of 21 would be given opportunity to play and get exposed to stronger training and coaching.

The league would be named after the foundation's patron, Patrice Motsepe's late father ABC Motsepe which is in recognition of his legacy as an educator.

The SABC will partner Safa in this initiative, and highlight packages will be broadcast of matches in the play-off stages of the league and the final would be broadcast live. – Sapa