Young SA soccer star impresses

Thandukwazi Gcabashe

Thandukwazi Gcabashe

A talented young football star from Kimberley wowed Manchester United Soccer School coaches during a week-long training camp last month.

Proudly bearing the medals to attest to his feat in Manchester, 14-year-old Lyle Johnson was one of six young South Africans who visited the reigning British Premier League champs.

He was named Player of the Day against stiff competition from kids from around the world and was also recognised as one of the best behaved youngsters.

Johnson and five other talented South Africans spent eight momentous days in Manchester.

This thanks to Shona Khona, an education-through-sport initiative conceived by Reckitt Benckiser, jointly run by Metro Cash & Carry and supported by Sowetan (for the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation), the SABC, Mamelodi Sundowns, AIG, ForwardZone and Imperial Europcar.

There were 400 teenage boys and girls from all over the world at the soccer and life skills camp.

Johnson says: "The road to Manchester was not easy and I had to work very hard, from the Shona-Khona trials at regional level all the way through to the national camp."

The diminutive right back says: "I was very excited to be named the best behaved player. Discipline is very important in sport and the coaches saw that in me."

Other younsters were Gauteng's Phakiso Ratsiu, 14; Eastern Cape's Zenande Sibali, 14; North West's Mogorosi Mmethi, 14; Gauteng's Julian de Freitus, 14; and Free State's Iyanda Mabani, 14.