THERE is a good chance that had it not been for Andries Mpondo, South Africa would have never witnessed the talents of Linda "Mercedes-Benz" Buthelezi.
The former South African national team midfielder was talented enough but at the age of 16 he had no boots to play in until Mpondo intervened.
While Buthelezi went on to achieve various things in his 12-year career, he never forgot. He recalled yesterday how putting on that pair of boots improved him as a player and changed his mind about the concept of giving.
Through his programme "Kick For Change", he is collecting football boots for disadvantaged youths and is appealing for help.
"I learnt then to think of more than just myself. This is why today I have involved myself in changing youngsters' lives. Andries did a lot more than giving me those boots, he taught me that giving does more for the giver than the one who receives," Buthelezi told Sowetan yesterday.
"I'm determined to influence their lives no matter how small the change will be. Some of these kids might never kick a ball professionally, but we will use the opportunity to reach out to them and impart some life skills."
Buthelezi believes he can advise players on skills such as self-knowledge and the ability to adapt from his personal experience.
Those who want to make a contribution can contact Anita Matthews on 011-802-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.