Soccer stars of the future go to Brazil

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

An aspirant soccer star is living an incredible dream, thanks to Shona Khona, the popular Metcash, Reckitt Benckiser and Sowetan education- through-sport initiative.

Eleven-year-old Tyroane Sandows, of Alberton, south of Johannesburg, Gauteng, has gone to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to learn about soccer at the Sao Paulo FC Soccer Academy. He will also attend school in Sao Paulo.

Sandows, who is 1,33m tall, left with his family, who will stay with him in Sao Paulo to help him settle in with his host family. He will attend the English-medium St Nicholas School. His soccer lessons begin on Monday.

Sandows first went to Brazil for a week in July last year. The second trip this month is for a whole year.

He was awarded the trips because of his impressive performance at one of the two inaugural Shona Khona soccer coaching and life-skills development camps at the Safa-Transnet Soccer School of Excellence at Elandsfontein in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, last year.

Stan Whitting, Shona Khona's manager, said this week: "Shona Khona has been incredible in unearthing what unbelievable raw talent there is out there ."

Another prospect discovered by Shona Khona, Thabiso Makena, 15, will leave tomorrow for a two-month trial with the Brazilian academy.

Like Sandows, Makena will train with the academy's other charges on Monday in the hope of being given a chance to attend full-time.

Shona Khona is a youth-development success story. Since its inception last year five boys have left the townships to attend school and soccer coaching at the Safa-Transnet School of Excellence.