My first day at the Shona Khona soccer coaching and life skills development camp at the Safa and Transnet Sports School of Excellence in Gauteng was lonely.
I realised that I had to make friends with the other candidates, although I was aloof at first.
A lot happened after the second day and I learnt a lot, particularly about shooting and elevation.
There were warm-ups and stretching and then games dominated at the trials to choose the best six candidates to join six others for a week in Brazil.
I was nervous when I got on the field during the trials. But the first touch helped me relax and I became confident.
I soon was in a team with complete strangers, but I blended in. The other guys were friendly. We got talking.
The camp taught me that one has to make friends as quickly as possible because it settles the nerves.
After being chosen to train in Brazil, I made friends with all my fellow winners.
On our first day in Brazil we strolled on the streets of Sao Paulo and we saw people playing soccer all day. I thought it was their hobby, but was told that the sport was part of Brazilian culture. In Brazil, soccer is a way of life.
Our first training session with the Brazilian boys was difficult because of the language barrier. They only spoke Portuguese and we spoke English so we could not communicate. There was a translator, but he was not with us all the time. Fortunately, a Brazilian boy spoke both languages. He was very friendly too.
So in order to play, we all had to learn the universal language of football and that is one of the most valuable lessons I learnt in Brazil.