Youngsters on road to success

Aiming High: Phetolo Maphuthuma, Brogan Sanders, Bereng Sekoai and Montgulio Thompson. © Unknown
Aiming High: Phetolo Maphuthuma, Brogan Sanders, Bereng Sekoai and Montgulio Thompson. © Unknown

TWO midfielders, a striker and a goalkeeper, stole the show during the Dettol Shona Khona soccer clinics at the Fiat Sports Centre in Meadowlands, Soweto, last weekend.

TWO midfielders, a striker and a goalkeeper, stole the show during the Dettol Shona Khona soccer clinics at the Fiat Sports Centre in Meadowlands, Soweto, last weekend.

They are 11-year-old Montgulio Thompson of Westbury, 12-year-old Brogan Sanders of Mulbarton, 13-year-old Bereng Sekoai of Palmridge, Katlehong, and 13-year-old Phetolo Maphuthuma of Diepkloof, Soweto.

This was so much talent that soccer legend Nobel Maja had no choice but to bend the rules and select four youngsters instead of three - Montgulio, Brogan, Bereng and Phetolo.

"It was very good to see youngsters who are passionate and serious about soccer as this group of young men and the woman who showed up today," Maja said.

Programme coordinator Graeme Whiting said: "We're impressed by the immense talent that showed up today. Judging by what we saw here, the national camp at the Wits FC Academy in Johannesburg - in a few months - promises to be fantastic."

Phetolo said: "I feel excited that I have been selected. I played my game according to the basics."

Phetolo is a Grade 7 pupil at Bopanang Primary School in Diepkloof, Soweto.

Bereng, who is a Grade 7 pupil at Realeboga Primary School in Diepkloof - and was accompanied by his teacher Musa Nkuna - said: "I was confident in myself, as the objective was to be a team player, create space and stick to the coach's instructions. Now I can't wait for the national camp."

Montgulio, who is in Grade 5 at St Theresa Convent - and is in Premier Soccer League club Wits FC's under-12 juniors - said: "I feel happy to be selected to the national camp. Having my parents around watching me boosted my confidence."

Brogan, a Grade 6 pupil at King Edward Preparatory School, who plays for Robertsham Callies, said: "I thought it would be hard because the guys from Soweto are very skilful. But I played my own game and remained composed when I held the ball. I am so excited. For me, Brazil is the main goal."

Dettol Shona Khona is an education through sport talent searching and nurturing programme of Reckitt Benckiser. Bidvest Wits is its technical partner. Sowetan is the media and publicity partner, and has made the project a part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

Other regional soccer coaching and life skills camps took place in all the nine provinces and the names of all the successful candidates will be published on Friday.

Since December 2005, the project has taken 30 children to two different international soccer academies. Most recently, six boys travelled to Manchester United Soccer Schools in 2008.

In the first two years, 24 children have gone to Brazil for a week of soccer training.

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