Coach takes beautiful game to the community

2014-04-24 00:00

JOHN Goncalves is a man who is passionate about soccer, having played, coached and supported the game.

He has been involved at Forest Hills for a number of years and has recently added a new dimension to his soccer journey, coaching a team of youngsters in Molweni.

“I started coaching Pholobas FC following the NEK Nomination craze that hit Facebook. Rather than do the whole drinking challenge that was the core of the nomination, I decided to follow the example set by Brent Lindeque, who initiated a RAK [Random Act of Kindness] Nomination,” said Goncalves.

It soon fell into place for him. He heard of a woman in Molweni who was trying to get a team going, as she wanted the youngsters to get involved in soccer and focus on something worthwhile and constructive. “I contacted her and things started happening,” said Goncalves. “These days, I go every Saturday from 8.30 am to 10 am, to a spot near the high school and police station where I coach the team. It’s just an open field, not at all conducive to soccer. There are large sandy areas, with tufts of grass and a half erected goalpost on one side. Cattle roam on the ‘field’ and their droppings are another obstruction to deal with.”

Nonetheless, the enthusiasm and love for soccer is in the youngsters’ hearts and Goncalves is only too willing to impart his knowledge and give of his time.

“I have been coaching soccer for the past 20 years and this is by far my most challenging prospect … Besides training them and putting them through their paces, I impart plenty of technical information with the official team coach,” said Goncalves.

It’s real grassroots stuff for Goncalves but it’s the love for soccer and sharing the game that makes him want to return each week. “There are no facilities or equipment. Being the Forest Hills first team coach, I take my own training aids such as balls and cones so at least some decent progress is made,” he said. “The players are in dire need of boots as they train in socks, takkies and school shoes.”

Contact Goncalves at johng@prologix.co.za or 031 700 4718.

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