Shona Khona changes lives of youngsters

Sthembiso Zikalala

Sthembiso Zikalala

Some people are born, live uneventful, unproductive and forgettable lives and die. Others are born, live, achieve wonders and leave monumental legacies.

Achievers, heroes, trendsetters or legends start their star-studded lives young.

Future legends Bongani Mocksin and Lwandolwethu Bhebhetho have already started on the road to fame. The young heroes were honoured by their school, city, municipality and province in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, last week.

Bhebhetho, 14, and Mocksin, 13, of Ilinge Primary School in Allanridge are among six boys who have qualified for a week's soccer coaching and life-skills training in Brazil.

They will be coached at the famous Sao Paulo Football Club's soccer academy next month, thanks to the Shona Khona education-through- sport initiative by Reckitt Benckiser and Metcash, with Sowetan as the media sponsor.

"The function was held to honour the boys from our area who became involved in Shona Khona through their own initiative," said Martin Pram, events coordinator for the Nelson Mandela municipality at a special event held for Mocksin and Bhebhetho.

"We wish them the very best," Pram said .

The boys represented their school at the regional trials at the Safa-Transnet Soccer School of Excellence (SSE) at Elandsfontein in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng in December.

Mocksin and Bhebhetho, together with Mzwandile Mgqwaka, Dominic Mfusi, Moalusi Mathe and Jerry Nkwana were chosen from 90 hopefuls.

This is the second such camp. Soccer training, as well as life skills, are coordinated by retired soccer star Marks Maponyane, and SSE head coaches, Mandla Mazibuko and Dan Malesela.

Mocksin, Bhebhetho, Mfusi, Magqwaka, Mathe and Nkwana will be joined by another six future stars who will be selected at the next camp later this month.

The 12 talented boys will fly to Brazil next month for a week of intense soccer training.

Since its inception, Shona Khona has seen five boys enrolled at the Safa Transnet School of Excellence for five-year academic and soccer bursaries.

Two boys were invited back to Brazil for further trials and one of them will stay there for a year.

Sifiso Mnguni was selected through the programme to join the Premier Soccer League side, Silver Stars. He is currently playing for their under-19 development team. Mnguni is also coaching his own amateur soccer team in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

lSowetan has joined Shona Khona as a media sponsor because this project, incorporating education through sport, fits into the youth development ideals of the newspaper's Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

l Call 086-110-0980 for any further information on Shona Khona.