When aspirant soccer star Tyroane Sandows entered the Shona Khona competition he didn't think he'd get to train in Brazil - twice.
Shona Khona is an education-through-sport development programme open to boys and girls aged between 10 and 16. It provides coaching clinics and life skills workshops at the Safa-Transnet Soccer School of Excellence in Gauteng twice a year.
The soccer hopefuls have to look out for specially marked products bearing the Reckitt Benckiser logo and must then SMS their personal details.
After the 180 hopefuls arrive at the soccer school it is up to them to impress the coaches with their soccer skills.
A total of 12 aspirants are selected to attend coaching and life-skills development sessions at the Sao Paulo Football Club's soccer academy inBrazil.
Sandows is one of two Shona Khona recruits invited to return to the Sao Paulo football academy for another session. The other Brazil-bound lad is Thabiso Makena.
"It's all so amazing," said 11-year-old Tyroane, from Malbarton, south of Johannesburg. He won a place at the Shona Khona soccer camp in April.
He entered the competition by SMS-ing a lucky number he found on a popular brand of antiseptic.
"Shona Khona gives kids from underdeveloped areas the opportunity to become role models, not only in soccer but also in life," said Stan Whiting, Shona Khona's project manager.
Sandows, currently playing for his home team, Robertsham Callies, as a striker, is inspired by Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho.
"I can't wait to go back to Brazil and learn more soccer skills," the delighted youngster said this week.
"Sandows is a talented player and he impressed us all. His future seems very bright," Mandla Mazibuko, one of the coaches at the Soccer School of Excellence, said this week.
Mazibuko and Whiting work with other top coaches at the school, such as soccer greats Marks "Go Man Go" Maponyane and Dan "Dance" Malesela.
lSowetan is a sponsoring partner of Shona Khona.
For more info call the Shona Khona hotline on 086-110-0980. - Edited by Victor Mecoamere