Teenagers wishing to emulate and even outshine their idols should look no further than Shona Khona, the education-through-sport programme.
Now in its second year, Shona Khona, sponsored and run by Metcash and Reckitt Benckiser, has identified 12 talented candidates who have tasted soccer coaching and life skills training at an advanced level after they impressed local coaches and motivators, including Marks Maponyane, Dan Malesela, Bernard Lushozi and Mandla Mazibuko.
Supported by Sowetan and SABC as media sponsors, Shona Khona invites entries that are found on specially-marked Reckitt Benckiser products at Metcash and Metcash- friendly stores.
Entrants must SMS or post their names and addresses to the organisers.
Twelve lucky youths, selected out of thousands of hopefuls countrywide, visited Brazil's famous Sao Paulo FC soccer academy last December.
From the 12, two young players will return at the behest of the Brazilians.
So impressive was Tyroane Sandows that he has been invited back for a year-long visit.
Thabiso Makena will return to Brazil for three months. The third talented lad is Sfiso Mnguni. He is due to join the current Premier Soccer League leading club, Silver Stars.
At the weekend Jerry Nkwana, from Mamelodi in Gauteng, was also impressive. He was one of the six soccer players who have been selected to visit Brazil in July after the latest Shona Khona camp at the Safa- Transnet Soccer School of Excellence in Elandsfontein, Ekurhuleni.
Nkwana is scheduled to be joined on the Brazil trip by 13-year-old Dominic Mfusi from Krugersdorp, Gauteng; 16-year- old Moalusi Mathe from Thabanchu, Free State; 13-year-old Bongani Mocksin and 14-year-old Lwando Bhebhetha from Uitenhage, Eastern Cape; and 13-year-old Mzwandile Magqwaka, who is from Gugulethu in the Western Cape.
Nkwana stood head and shoulders above others because he has also been offered a place at the Safa Transnet Soccer School of Excellence.
"I am so excited. I can't wait to tell my family. I am so surprised," an elated Nkwana said at the weekend.
l For more info call the Shona Khona hotline on 086-110-0980.