Boys and girls aged between 10 and 16 can realise their wildest soccer superstar dreams through Shona Khona, the education- through-sport initiative.
The initiative is designed to empower pupils from poor communities by providing opportunities and life-skills that will equip them to become leaders in their communities.
Initiated by Reckitt Benckiser and Metcash, in partnership with the SABC and Sowetan, Shona Khona is expected to continue beyond the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The project is growing yearly and has received the blessing and support of Safa and the United School Sport Association of South Africa.
Started two years ago, Shona Khona is the brainchild of the former general manager of Reckitt Benckiser South Africa, Roberto Funari.
Shona Khona started after a year of intensive research. The first camp took place in December 2005.
Of the 180 youngsters who attended two soccer coaching and life-skills training sessions at the Safa and Transnet Soccer School of Excellence, 12 were selected for advanced training at the Sao Paulo FC's Football Academy in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in July.
All children are invited to enter the competition by buying a Reckitt Benckiser household product such as Disprin, Dettol, Mr Min or Cobra furniture polish from Metcash and Metcash-friendly stores.
SMS the lucky numbers by following the instructions on the products.
From the two camps that feature two batches of 90 children each, the first in December and the second in April, 12 future stars qualify for fantastic prizes. The main prize is one week's training at the Sao Paulo Football Club in Brazil in July.
More than half the children have been accepted by some of the country's best soccer programmes. Two lucky youngsters have an opportunity to train at a world-renowned overseas soccer club.
Marks "Go Man Go" Maponyane, the technical coordinator for Shona Khona, says: "For some of the youngsters, just being at the camp is enough. For others, it is the start of something many kids dream about."
Maponyane works with fellow veterans such as Dan "Dance" Malesela, James "Akulalwa" Mabena, Bernard "Shoes" Lushozi and Mandla Mazibuko.
l For further information, youngsters or their parents can call the Shona Khona hotline on 08611-00980.