Passion of the Billiard

2017-06-08 06:00
Billiard Molongoana

Billiard Molongoana

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Billiard Molongoana works seven days a week as a gardener and handyman to earn money to fund his passion: The Naledi Football Club in Site C, Khayelitsha.

Billiard used to walk home in the evenings, and see the boys in his neighbourhood playing soccer in the streets, kicking anything from empty cool drink bottles to shoe boxes.

Billiard would lie awake at night, thinking of the kids on the street, the skill he saw in them, the joy the game brought, and more importantly, what he could do to make a difference.

After a few evenings, he noticed the boys playing closer and closer to his home, seemingly to make contact with him, but then running away as their courage faltered. One night, one of the boys approached him, started speaking but again, the boy ran away.

One evening Billiard went up to the group of youngsters and said ‘You must not be afraid to ask for what you want, otherwise you won’t get anything’.

As he walked off the boys shouted back, asking if he had a soccer ball.

At that moment, Billiard realised – he needs to start a team, where everyone would be welcome.

With his initiative, he has managed to register four teams with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and mentor over 300 young students.

He has also been fortunate enough to employ two full-time assistants. “If you ask Billiard about his soccer team, he cannot stop talking with pride.”, says one of his employers, Lee-Anne Singer.

With no resources or financial support, Billiard secured second-hand sports clothes for and shoes for a few of his teams. He also secured a printer to print logos on the kits to make them feel even more part of a team.

Billiard was finally witnessing his dream take off, when an unfortunate event took place.

On Tuesday 23 May 2017 while Billiard was at work, he arranged for the Naledi coach, Power Mbotoli, to drop off 30 uniforms at the printers, sadly while on his way, Power was mugged at the station and was robbed of 30 kits, paperwork and money.

After this major setback, Billiard’s employer, Lee-Anne Singer, turned to crowdfunding with Backabuddy to help provide these students with the uniforms on his Behalf.

“When he called me that Tuesday, to say he was going to be late for work, I could hear a sadness in his voice. And when he told me about their loss, I realised that we cannot allow Billiard to lose hope – because he is Naledi FC’s hope” - Lee-Anne Singer.

Lee-Anne adds, “From the moment I met Billiard, I was enthralled with his passion, energy and enthusiasm to learn. His stories of growing up in the 1950’s, amidst poverty, but in a home filled with love, inspired me to strive to be a better parent. Billiard’s ingenuity and problem-solving skills are evident in everything he does.”

Billiard’s character has attracted a number of donations. In less than a week he raised R14 118.27. on Backabuddy and attracted a couple of generous donors.

After reading Billiard’s story on Facebook, Nicolette Kinnear from Tygerberg identified with Billiard’s story. As a mom with soccer-loving boys herself, this plea hit home when she pictured her children in this position.

Nicolette told her employer, Tygerberg 104FM about Billiard and the circumstances that brought him to crowdfunding with Backabuddy and they happily donated 30 soccer uniforms to the campaign. “If Billiard is able to make such a big difference, with so little, what’s our excuse not to?” Nicolette added.

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