‘Hoof’ puts head on the blocks

2016-08-25 06:00
 Itsitsa school principal Simphiwe Ulana with some of his charges. PHOTO: lindile mbontsi

Itsitsa school principal Simphiwe Ulana with some of his charges. PHOTO: lindile mbontsi

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The love to mould, mentor and community building is not just a job for Simphiwe Ulana, a principal of Itsitsa primary school in Mfuleni.

As an educator, Ulana,43, works for the department of education and gets paid for it—but he goes extra mile as he works with parents from communities around to keep their kids out of the streets.

From Mandalay, he also owns a soccer academy called Ulana where he trains young people soccer.

“I realised that this age (young people) is vulnerable to the influences from the streets. If you don’t get control of the young ones at a tender age, you will lose them to drugs and crime,” he said.

Ulana told City Vision that his project is meant to create leaders of tomorrow.

“We try to create a united South Africa through sport. We have both blacks and coloureds in the team—the idea is to create a non-racial and undivided South Africa,” he said.

Ulana uses his family’s taxi to carry the youngsters whenever they have away games.

“I want to thank the parents for entrusting me with their boys,” he said. Other parents take their time to visit the grounds when their children are playing.

Besides support from parents, Ulana said his wife Vuyeka has been supportive in his work.

“Sometimes the boys come and sleep over at my house when we come back late from a match. My wife cooks for them and never complains—she supports my dream,” said Ulana.

The team has complete football attire that includes tracksuits.

The team trains at Arch near Bosasa where they were given a field to use by an NGO.

“I believe as an educator it’s my calling to mould my society—I feel obligated. I enjoy working with young people and to me it’s an extension of my job,” he said.

His desire is to see the youngsters from eKasi playing in the PSL ranks. Two weeks ago his team won a Rygersdal FC junior competition where they played against six teams.

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