Brazil dream is shattered

PHETOLO Maphuthuma will not be seeing Brazil after he lost out in the Dettol Shona Khona soccer coaching and life skills training camp to 12 other talented youngsters.

PHETOLO Maphuthuma will not be seeing Brazil after he lost out in the Dettol Shona Khona soccer coaching and life skills training camp to 12 other talented youngsters.

Essentially an almost peerless education through sport programme, Dettol Shona Khona is a corporate social investment and responsibility activity of Reckitt Benckiser.

Its nation-building partners include Absa Premiership club Bidvest Wits FC, Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

The 12 lucky future soccer superstars who are headed for Brazil next month are Gauteng's Samkelo Qwabe, Montgulio Thompson, Brogan Sanders, Matla Khoela and Owen Tsomele; North West's Kopano Motaung and Kagiso Manong; Limpopo's Justice Maluleke; Mpumalanga's Hlaulekile Moyane; Eastern Cape's Mlibo Sotashe and Dayne Jooste, and KwaZulu-Natal's Zibulele Zwane.

They were chosen from provincial and regional camps that were attended by 4000 children nationwide who had either submitted (via sms) special barcoded information or, in the case of primary school pupils, collected the highest number of Dettol soap wrappers.

They will join Tyroane Sandows, a Shona Khona recruit , who has been offered a three-year contract by the Sao Paulo Futebol Club Academy.

Another bright Dettol Shona Khona recruit, Sifiso Mnguni, who was discovered at the very first Shona Khona training camp, has since signed a three-year professional playing contract with the Platinum Stars development team.

Five other determined young boys 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.

The project has since December 2005 taken 30 youngsters to two international soccer academies - São Paulo's soccer academy and that of British football juggernauts, Manchester United.

He will be trained and guided by seasoned soccer legends including Eric Tinkler and Ashley Makhanya.

But, for Phetolo all is not lost as he has been accepted at the Bidvest FC soccer academy in Johannesburg.

"I feel pretty good because I'm proud of what I've achieved," says the amiable youngster. "My parents and teachers are very proud of me too."

Phetolo's proud mother, Beauty Maphuthuma, who had helped him pack his bags, offering words of encouragement before he set off to the Shona Khona national finals on November 8, says her spirits were never dampened when Phetolo didn't make it.

"He's made this family proud," she says.

"If ever you don't win, don't lose hope. "You've made it to the highest levels, so if you don't make it, try again.

"You must have room for disappointment," she told his son as he drove off to the Wits Soccer Academy in Johannesburg for the finals.

Phetolo charmed his peers and his mentors at her school, Bopanang Primary, with his soccer skills but it was between the goal posts that he felt most comfortable and worked hard to be a good goalkeeper.

School principal, Maria Khuele says: "There is great potential in Phetolo.

"He's a good football player. We realised his skills when our coach, Sam Motaung, picked up that Phetolo had the potential to become one of our best players, especially one of the school's best goalkeepers."