PMB's young fans go crazy for SA soccer celebs

2009-06-04 00:00

SCREAMS of excitement greeted South African soccer legends Doctor Khumalo and Mike Mangena as they visited Kharina Secondary School (KSS) yesterday.

KSS is one of eight schools in Pietermaritzburg taking part in the Confederations Cup ‘Adopt a Nation’ campaign.

Khumalo and Mangena, along with officials from the Msunduzi Municipality, were at the school yesterday to speak to the pupils about the Msunduzi High School Confederation Tournament taking place this weekend.

The pupils, all dressed in black and white, battled to contain their joy at meeting the stars in person and swarmed around Khumalo. While some jostled for position hoping to get Khumalo’s autograph, others took photographs with their cellphones.

The soccer stars were treated to a performance of the New Zealand national anthem and then the Haka dance. KSS will be playing as tournament dark horses New Zealand. The U19 team will be presented with their kit on Friday.

African Cup of Nations 1996 winner Khumalo encouraged the pupils to follow the games and learn about the different teams.

“We as South Africans are the ambassadors of this country. It is encouraging to see this kind of support from you guys.”

Khumalo told the crowd of screaming pupils to remember that sport is not the only way to success — education plays an equally important role.

“Your teachers and parents are there to guide you in the right direction. The reason I am here today is because I had respect for others,” he said.

Mangena told the school’s soccer team that it is up to the youth to uplift the standard of the game in the country.

“The quality of our soccer is promising, but there is plenty of room for growth and improvement.”

Msunduzi Municipality Process Manager for Community Development Mandla Zuma said that the purpose of the tournament was to introduce the Fifa Confederations Cup to the learners.

Principal Yubentheren Moodley said: “We are so proud to have been chosen, getting involved in events like these will give our school the exposure that it needs”.

The eight school soccer teams will represent the eight teams taking part in the Confederations Cup and they will be playing in the kit of the country that they have adopted.

The eight schools will be receiving at least R5 000 each for participation in the tournament.

Moodley said that they hoped that by getting involved in events like these they will be able to build a hall for the school within five years, which they have not been able to do so far due to finances.

The school tournament starts at Northdale Stadium tomorrow and the semi-finals and finals take place on Saturday.

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