Shona stars selected

Thandukwazi Gcabashe

Thandukwazi Gcabashe

The final group of aspirant soccer superstars for Shona Khona in Gauteng in July have been selected.

Several stand a chance of traveling to the home of British Premier League and FA Cup champions Manchester United for a week of world-class soccer coaching in August.

Shona Khona, the education through sport initiative and youth soccer development programme, was started by Reckitt Benckiser and Metro Cash & Carry over three years ago.

Its partners are Premier Soccer League club Mamelodi Sundowns, insurers AIG (who also sponsor Manchester United), car hire company Imperial Europcar, sports management agency ForwardZone and media partners Sowetan and SABC.

A total of 44 aspirants will attend the advanced soccer coaching and life skills camps that will be conducted by top international and local coaches.

It is expected to be overseen by Manchester United Soccer Schools programme coaches and Mamelodi Sundowns' technical team.

Regional camps were held in 20 locations in the nine provinces between December 2007 and this month.

In a slightly different format to the two previous years, Shona Khona has moved much closer to the communities this year.

Youngsters aged between 10 and 16 enter the competition by buying household brands distributed through Metro and Trade Centre stores, then SMS the lucky number on the packaging. The lucky youngsters whose numbers are drawn are allocated to a training camp closest to their cities or towns.

lFor more information phone the Shona Khona hotline on 0861-100-980.

Over the past two years the programme has taken 24 talented youngsters to the Sao Paulo Futebol Academy in Brazil for a week of training.

Talented Tyroane Sandows has been offered a three-year contract by the Sao Paulo Futebol Club.

At the end of the three years, he will be reassessed and if he impresses the judges further, Sandows could qualify for a place in the Sao Paulo FC academy's senior section.

Another bright Shona Khona recruit is Sifiso Mnguni, who was discovered at the very first Shona Khona training camp.

He has signed a three-year professional playing contract with the Platinum Stars development team.

Five other boys were accepted and are currently enrolled at the Safa Transnet Sports of Excellence through Shona Khona.

They are Bongani Mocksin, Kwanele Nkosi, Tumisho Morerwa, Jerry Nkwane and Godfrey Molemela.