Half time for stars

Sthembiso Zikalala

Sthembiso Zikalala

Thabiso Makena, 15, and Tyroane Sandows, 11, are on a break from an intensive soccer coaching and life-skills training programme in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Makena, from Limpopo, and Sandows, from Gauteng, returned last week. They were among the 12 boys and girls who visited Sao Paulo Football Club's soccer academy in July last year. All this is thanks to Shona Khona, an education through sport initiative sponsored by Reckitt Benckiser and Metcash in association with Sowetan and SABC.

Sandows, currently undergoing a year's development programme at Sao Paulo FC's soccer academy, said: "I had a great time in Brazil and improved my soccer skills. But I'm glad to be home for the holidays."

Makena said: "Brazil was an amazing experience for me and from that I bring so much back with me and I have a lot to offer to the football industry."

Stan Whiting, Shona Khona's project manager, said: "The two boys have done well and it is incredible to see the kind of talent that came out of a lucky draw."

Shona Khona is an initiative for children from under-resourced communities to access specialised and advanced soccer coaching and life-skills training.

Out of the 90 entrants only 12 are chosen for more training at Sao Paulo Football Club's soccer academy in Brazil.

The 12 are selected from intensive training programme conducted at the South African Football Association and Transnet Soccer School of Excellence at Elandsfontein, in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

The training is divided into two camps - run in December and May. But those who do not make it to Brazil are admitted to the South African Football Association and Transnet Soccer School of Excellence.

This provides them with the opportunity to join top local Premier Soccer League football clubs.

For more information you can contact Shona Khona at this number: 086-110-0980.

l Sthembiso Zikalala is a publicist for Shona Khona.