Given the likelihood of failure, Adam Fine wanted to try his hand at business early. His vision was to create jobs for hardworking, passionate people and improve the standard of soccer, predominantly through facilities.
Born in the United Kingdom to South African and Zimbabwean parents, Fine was playing sports from a young age. What he loves most about sports is its capacity to bring people together, generate emotions and teach valuable life lessons.
While studying for his economics undergraduate degree at 20, Fine began operating with a team in Cape Town from Nottingham University. Fine got his break at age 21 and emigrated to Cape Town, where most of his family is based, with an enormous phone bill, and a lecture attendance that was quite the opposite.
Today Fine runs Fives Futbol: South Africa’s largest five-a-side soccer company designed to create world-class soccer facilities across the country for the use of all. The company has partnered with top investors, sponsors and landlords, and — together with a growing team — has built a nationally recognised brand. With 50 000 monthly players operating on 18 sites in five provinces, all from a zero base, the company is thriving.
Over the next few months Fives aims to double their players, add McDonalds as their title sponsor and build a pipeline of sites reaching farther afield to in-need communities.
“Sport is hugely important for social cohesion, instilling a passion in young people, boosting health and levelling the playing field in terms of opportunities. Madiba said it best: ‘Sport has the power to change the world.’”
Fine has always held that doing business in a developing environment must involve giving back. With Fives, this means free use, financial support, employment and empowerment programmes for the underprivileged. The company also acts as a platform for NGOs.Together with shareholders, Fives helps fund teachers at Sinenjongo school, professionally runs the Western Cape Learners with Special Educational Needs league at no cost, and donates soccer balls with Totalsports annually.
In a few months, Fine’s team will be running Fives operationally without him. This is a testament to their hard work and dedication. But Fine loves his job, particularly the commercial, entrepreneurial side. He and his business partner might start a few other ventures in 2020, some closely associated to Fives and others wildly different. But balance will become his main focus, and choosing what he does, how he does it and with whom he does it with. — Shaazia Ebrahim