Football greats ‘coach’ PMB pupils

2010-07-23 00:00

PUPILS from schools surrounding Pietermaritzburg had a chance to meet football legends and learn some important life skills from them at the Natal Museum football seminar yesterday.

As part of its celebrations of the 2010 World Cup legacy, the museum organised a seminar at which football greats came to share the secrets of their success with pupils from Northbury Park Secondary, Nyonithwele Secondary, Mpophomeni High, Funulwazi Primary and Ramatha Primary.

In attendance were the Amaglug-glug (SA under-23) coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, local coach Thabo Dladla, women’s football administrator Mary-Jane Sokhela, football legend Mike “Sporo” Mangena, who is now a football analyst with SABC, and Vuma Mfeka, a former football star of KwaZulu-Natal.

The pupils listened attentively as speakers told of their trials and tribulations on their road to success.

All the speakers emphasised discipline, hard work, nutrition and sacrifice, and for pupils to believe in their abilities.

Mfeka said: “If we understand where we are coming from, we will know where we are today, giving ourselves a better perspective of where we are going.”

He told the pupils about the integral role played by missionaries in the early development of football in South Africa.

“If we understand the historical perspective of soccer in this country, then we will be able to develop massive football academies.”

Mfeka said the 2010 World Cup has left a legacy for South Africans to be proud of their vernacular languages.

“We saw during the 2010 World Cup that referees spoke their mother tongue because some countries have learnt to be proud of their own languages.”

Mangena threw a challenge to the SA Football Association to start building satellite rural football academies so that the country does not miss the opportunity to get the best players.

Mashaba said that during his hey days as a football player for Orlando Pirates, KwaZulu-Natal had great football players. “This province has some of the most talented soccer players of yester year. If the trees have fallen, it is up to us to plant new trees so that we can have shade,” he said.

Like the other speakers, Mashaba emphasised the dangers of smoking, consuming alcohol and doing drugs.

“As the youth, stay focused. Start now to make decisions and stick to them,” he said.

He told the pupils, “Sportspeople always display love, carrying, sharing and compassion for other people,” he said.

“Pupils, you must make people feel your presence wherever you go and make a mark in this.”

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