Top players reap the fruits of their labour
Mighty Leeds United Football Club this week honoured top players and seven top scorers at the club's yearly awards ceremony at Phuthanang Primary School in Soshanguve.
The team was formed seven years ago by Edwin Ribane and Thabo Maponya to combat crime in the area and to keep children off the streets.
The team started with 33 players (under- 14s only) but now has more than 85 youngsters in nine categories.
Leeds now fields under-12s, under-14s and under-17s.
The club encourages its players to respect themselves, to respect others and to be self-motivated.
Ribane and Maponya organised games away from Soshanguve and invited top teams, including Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United, to watch their youngsters play.
The pair came up with the idea of hosting a yearly awards ceremony for outstanding players.
Leeds was not registered with the Soshanguve District Football Association League until this year.
"Our vision is to give exposure to talented young people in our community and to build a professional team that will represent the community of Soshanguve," said Ribane.
Boitumelo Makau, 14, said he was happy to belong to the team because it steers him away from bad behaviour and makes him think about soccer and education.
Boitumelo's mother, Emily Makau, wants to write to a soccer magazine to thank it for donating the teams' kits.
One of Leeds' players, Julius, Makau, is being coached at the Transnet School of Excellence through the Shona Khona Challenge.
Makau made it to Brazil for a stint with Sao Paulo FC recently.
Three other Leeds players are with Tuks FC, Pretoria University's development soccer team.
One passed the Mamelodi Sundowns under-10 trials and two are still waiting for a response from Sundowns.
The team dream of getting their own home ground for training and sponsorship for transport to and from league, tournament and friendly matches.