12 will attend training at the Sao Paulo FC Soccer Academy

Sthembiso Zikalala

Sthembiso Zikalala

John Tsoari, of Nigel on the East Rand, will attend a soccer camp in Brazil this month.

Tsoari's trip, and those of 11 other youngsters, was made possible by Shona Khona, an education through sport initiative of Metcash and Reckitt Benckiser.

Also expected to be on the same Brazil-bound plane with John are Mzwandile Magqwaka, Bongani Mocksin, Jerry Nkwana, Moalusi Mathe, Lwandolwethu Bhebhetha, Dominic Mfusi. There will also be Teboho Pholosi, Clifford Maserumule, Thabo Mbokazi, 13, from KwaZulu-Natal, Dane van Schalkwyk and Mpho Baloyi.

Sowetan, in conjunction with SABC, is a media sponsor.

It has made this youth development project a part of the rich corporate social investment and responsibility fare of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

Shona, which provides aspirant boy and girl superstars with a wealth of soccer skills and rich cultural experiences, is open to children aged between 10 and 16, who enter by obtaining lucky entry numbers from Reckitt Benckiser products in Metcash and Metcash-friendly retail stores.

Two Shona Khona soccer coaching and life skills workshops were held at the Safa-Transnet Sports School of Excellence in Elandsfontein, Ekurhuleni, for about 180 children. Six future stars from each camp qualified for a week-long stay - acquiring soccer and life skills and gaining new cultural experiences - at the famous Sao Paulo FC Soccer Academy in Brazil.

"I am so happy to be going to Brazil and when I get back, I hope to be as great as my favourite player Benedict 'Tso' Vilakazi," Tsoari said.

Tsoari, a current member of the Seton FC team in Nigel, has ambitions to to play for his favourite team, SuperSport United, one day.

Stan Whiting, Shona Khona's project manager, said: "Taking these kids to Brazil is an experience of a lifetime and how they perform in Brazil is entirely up to them."

l Since it started in 2005, Shona Khona has sent 12 young boys and girls to Brazil for a week of soccer training, two of whom were invited back for further training. Five other boys have been enrolled at the School of Excellence, in addition to being offered a five-year bursary in academics and sport.

Yet another talented Shona Khona recruit, Sifiso Mnguni, is now part of Premier Soccer League club Silver Stars, where he plays for their under-19 development team.

For more information call the Shona Khona hotline on 0861-100-980. - Additional reporting by Victor Mecoamere