Ex-Mamelodi Sundowns player helps change Zim street kid's life

2016-05-27 22:37


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Harare - A heart-warming Facebook post from a former Zimbabwean international footballer about his attempt to change a street child's life has touched hundreds of readers.

Alois Bunjira, who has played for Mamelodi Sundowns and Free State Stars and now runs a soccer academy near Harare, wrote about noticing a young teenager standing one Saturday morning with his blind father who was begging on the road.

Instead of handing over some small change, Bunjira noticed the physique of the boy, who was about 14 years old.

"Something whispered to my soul," the footballer wrote in a post that's already been liked more than 1 000 times in just three days.

So when the traffic lights changed, Bunjira looped back and managed to hand over his business card to the pair.

He told the child's father that his son "looked like a good soccer player" and pleaded with him to send him to his Albun Soccer Academy in Chitungwiza, south of Harare.

However, the boy never arrived.

When Bunjira next saw him on the roadside, he asked why. The boy admitted he had no cash to make the trip. So Bunjira gave him a US dollar bill. Still the boy, who had dropped out of school for lack of cash, didn't come. But he did phone Bunjira. During that call, the footballer mentioned some soccer trials that were taking place in the coming week for his own son's school near Masvingo.

It wasn't until Bunjira ran into the boy again when he was driving his own son to soccer practice that he realised what had happened.

Ordinance Tanaka Phiri had somehow got himself to the soccer trials. 

'I don't deserve any praise'

Even better - as Bunjira found out the following weekend - Phiri had won a scholarship to board at Dewure High School, which is famed for its soccer team. 

School fees at boarding schools can run into hundreds of dollars.

"I am happy for the boy from deep within," Bunjira wrote.

The Financial Gazette reported in 2014 that there were around 5 000 street kids in Harare alone. It's not clear if Phiri's father and his siblings live on the streets or have a home elsewhere. 

Bunjira says a younger child is now accompanying the blind father. 

Many readers shared the footballer's joy, with hundreds posting beneath his story.

"Talk about transformation and this is it. I would say you are an advocate for the downtrodden to have another chance in life. Be blessed Alois for this and please keep it up," posted Shepherd Dhlamini.

Jonas Matazu posted: "This is the Zimbabwe we want, take time to converse with those that are looked down upon by society. Thank you Alois, you touched many hearts."

Bunjira posted to Facebook: "I don't deserve any praise. I didn't play any role. I am praising God!"

He has also promised to draft the boy into his academy.

Read more on:    zimbabwe

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