Brazil dream comes true

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Individual and collective projects are said to really work when there is a strong desire to attain tangible results.

This seems increasingly true for Sowetan, SABC, Metcash and Reckitt Benckiser and all those involved in Shona Khona.

The three-year-old ambitious education-through-sport initiative is beginning to work wonders.

Twelve talented boys will jet off to Brazil tomorrow as a first step towards fulfilling their dreams of becoming soccer legends.

They are: Teboho Pholosi, 15, Clifford Maserumule, 15, John Tsoari, 14, Thabo Mbokazi, 13, Dane van Schalkwyk, 12, Mpho Baloyi, 15, Mzwandile Magqwaka, 14, Bongani Mocksin, 13, Jerry Nkwana, 13, Moalusi Mathe, 16, Lwandolwethu Bhebhetha, 14 and Dominic Mfusi, 13.

Shona Khona was started by Reckitt Benckiser and Metcash to give aspirant soccer talents a fair chance to be nurtured.

Sowetan and SABC are media sponsors and both media houses view the project as a worthwhile corporate social responsibility tool.

Sowetan has made Shona Khona a part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation's youth and community development activities portfolio.

Shona Khona's long-term aim is to help create a pool of candidates with appropriate, adequate and immense skills, talents and desire to represent South Africa with aplomb at national level.

This is the second group to visit the famous Sao Paulo Football Club's intensive and comprehensive youth soccer academy that specialises in academic, sports and life skills development.

From the first 12 who visited Sao Paulo last July, teenagers Tyroane Sandows was invited back for the rest of this year, Thabiso Makena was invited for a month early this year and Sifiso Mnguni who is both a coach of an amateur team and a member of the under-19 squad of the giant-killing Premier Soccer League side, Silver Stars.

Four others are enrolled at the highly-regarded Safa-Transnet Sports School of Excellence at Elandsfontein in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

Coaches including Marks Maponyane, Dan Malesela, Bernard Lushozi, James Mabena and Mandla Mazibuko have worked with 180 hopefuls.

In the past two years they have helped at preliminary coaching and life skills training camps, from which those qualifying for the Brazilian camps were chosen.