BEBETO A BOOSTFOR YOUTH

BRAZILIAN soccer great Bebeto is one of many superstars who are in the country for the Fifa World Cup, which has reached fever pitch.

BRAZILIAN soccer great Bebeto is one of many superstars who are in the country for the Fifa World Cup, which has reached fever pitch.

Bebeto, who was part of the Brazilian 1994 World Cup-winning squad, is the guest of Powerade, who are using the former striker to inspire players at their football academy. The energy drink company is bringing 100 young players from across the globe to South Africa for soccer and cultural experiences.

Bebeto, who is in South Africa for the second time, will visit the 100 youngsters at the University of Pretoria sports campus on Sunday.

On his first visit to South Africa, Bebeto broke the hearts of many South Africans by scoring a last-minute winning goal against Bafana Bafana at Soccer City in 1997.

Brazil won that match 3-2 after the home side led 2-0 in the first half.

Bebeto will also visit Mamelodi, where he is expected to compliment South Africa on its hosting of the Cup.

The Powerade Football Academy focuses on training, promoting friendship and healthy lifestyles.

Its programme started on Wednesday and will end on June 28.

It is led by former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey.

Powerade are also involved in the World Cup as they provide 448 boys and girls who serve as crew members for the tournament.

In the past only young boys were recruited by clubs and soccer associations for friendly and official matches countrywide.

They were commonly known as "ball boys" but the name was changed after the recruitment of girls.

The ball crew members hand the ball back to the players on the field.

Ismail Nanabhay, the company's brand manager, said boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were recruited from 31 amateur clubs in the nine host cities.

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