SOUTH Africa's latest future soccer stars are back from a memorable visit to Brazil's Sao Paulo FC.
They are Gauteng's Samkelo Qwabe, Montgulio Thompson, Brogan Sanders, Matla Khoel and Owen Tsomele; North West's Kopano Motaung and Kagiso Manong; Limpopo's Justice Maluleke; Mpumalanga's Hlaulekile Moyane; Eastern Cape's Mlibo Sotashe and Dayne Jooste; and, KwaZulu-Natal's Sibulelo Zwane.
They were hosted by Sao Paulo FC's soccer academy in December.
The recruits of Reckitt Benckiser's education through sport youth development project, Dettol Shona Khona, which is supported by nation-building partners that include Sowetan and Wits University FC, returned with a bag full of tricks on how to pass on the knowledge to their peers.
"We've learnt so much from the coaches in Brazil - from warming up to cooling down methods," Thompson said. "It was an eye-opener."
Jooste said: "Brazil qualifies as the best experience yet in my life and I hope that this was just the beginning of big things to come."
Khoele said: "The highlight for me was the visit to the Futebol Museum, where we saw the World Cup jersey worn by Pele."
Project coordinator Graeme Whiting said: "We had a fantastic time in Sao Paulo. The coaches and technical staff made our stay very pleasant."
Boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 16 can enter the Dettol Shona Khona via SMS. They can submit special bar codes found on Reckitt Benckiser products. Schools enter by collecting Dettol soap wrappers.
Former professional soccer players conduct coaching and life skills development sessions for the lucky recruits selected randomly from the entries sent via SMS and those whose schools sent the biggest numbers of wrappers.
This nation-building programme touched and enriched more than 4000 children nationwide in 2009.
l For more information, call the Dettol Shona Khona hotline on 071-692-4263 or visit www.shonakhona.co.za.
l The writer is with Applied Media Logic and is the project's media relations officer.