Silver Stars player Mnguni coaches youngsters

Sithembiso Zikala

Sithembiso Zikala

Shona Khona - a Reckitt Benckiser, Metcash and Sowetan education-through-sport initiative - continues to nurture future soccer stars.

Sifiso Mnguni, one of the beneficiaries of this initiative, is giving soccer lessons to pass on the skills he learnt at a Brazilian football academy.

Seventeen-year-old Mnguni, from Heidelberg, received training from Brazil's Sao Paulo Football Academy for a week. He was among 12 aspirant soccer players to do so last year.

He now coaches a soccer team of youngsters, Development United, in his hometown. The area lacks sports facilities.

Mnguni also plays for Premier Soccer League side Silver Stars' under-19 team.

Though he spends most of his time in school and training with Silver Stars, he still makes time to help his home-town's soccer team.

"I coach Development United because I want to give the youngsters in Heidelberg a chance. Shona Khona gave me the opportunity to improve my skills and I am giving back to my community," says Mnguni.

Development United represents Heidelberg in a local under-12s football tournament.

"I admire the former captain of Leeds and former Bafana Bafana star Lucas Radebe because his football career was a success and he continued to be successful after he retired," Mnguni says.

Through Shona Khona, five other boys have been enrolled at the Safa-Transnet Sports School of Excellence in Elandsfontein, Ekurhuleni.

Two of them, Tyroane Sandows and Thabiso Makena, were invited for more training in Brazil. The others have had trials with top local PSL soccer clubs.

The next Shona Khona recruitment drive will take place at the School of Excellence next month.

Six of the participants will be selected to go to Brazil for a week of intensive soccer training and cultural experience. They will join six others who were selected last year.

l The author is a Shona Khona publicist.

Sowetan is a media partner of Shona Khona because of its commitment to community and youth development through the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation. For more information, call Shona Khona on 0861-100-980.