Say hello to the future of SA soccer

2014-06-01 15:01

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His face lights up and his eyes become misty as he pulls up his tracksuit top sleeve to reveal a tattoo of his little sister Yolisa (4).

“She is a special one, this one,” he says smiling and pointing at the drawing.

We are sitting in Bafana Bafana manager Barney Kujane’s room at The Spencer on Byron Hotel in Auckland.

It emerges that when Yolisa was born, big brother Ayanda, now a Bafana star, vowed that she would not go through the same hardships as he did.

How he was going to do this, he had no idea at the time. His own life was bleak. The foreseeable future didn’t hold much promise. He had lost his father at age 11 and his mother Nombulelo was unemployed.

“I still remember fighting with my brother Luyanda for R20, which I needed to go to training with Vasco da Gama,” he reminisces, giving an indication of the roller-coaster life

the young man from Khayelitsha has had.

“Somehow, my mother always gave me money to go for training. Where she got it, as she was unemployed, I still have to find out. But she had so much faith in me that she even washed my training clothes.”

He was just playing football for fun at the time.

After moving between Da Gama, FC Cape Town and Mighty FC, he ended up at Africa Soccer Development Academy.

This is where things started looking up for him as he moved out of his four-roomed home to stay at the academy. At the age of 16, he found himself in Belgium, living with Bafana defender Anele Ngcongca.

“I had trials with KRC Genk and they wanted to sign me but they couldn’t as I was underage at the time.”

Two years later, he was back and was included as Genk beat Mechelen 4-0 and the giants of Belgian football, Anderlecht, 4-1.

“Prior to this trip, I had trials with SuperSport United and coach Gavin Hunt liked what he saw.

“He actually told me I was a good player and he could make me even better,” he gushed. “When we went overseas, I had made up my mind to join SuperSport.”

But life had another twist for him – as soon as he got back from the Belgian trip, another Belgian Pro League side, Lokeren, came knocking with a four-year deal.

“The academy bosses advised me to rather go overseas,” he said.

Thus, he found himself staying with the Denutte family. It was a complete turnaround for the boy from Khayelitsha. He lived in a double-storey house with a swimming pool and a huge playing field at the back.

“The owner actually owned a helicopter,” he reveals. At 21, Patosi is about to start a fourth season with Lokeren, where he wears jersey number?24. He has made 58 appearances, scoring 10 times.

With three showings for Bafana and a goal under his belt, despite being a mere 1.74m tall, he is set to be a giant in South African football.

The midfielder with a penchant for horror movies can now easily provide a better life, not only for sisters Yolisa and Yonela (19), but brother Luyanda (27), who he fought with over a meagre R20, once upon a time.

When in his flat in Lokeren (five minutes from the club’s home ground, he proudly points out), he relaxes by watching movies, listening to music or playing Fifa 14 on his PlayStation.

When time permits, he goes out with friends, occasionally to a restaurant to enjoy his favourite grilled chicken and pasta dishes.

Oh, and he also regularly Skypes with his Cape Town-based girlfriend Aphiwe Ndoni.

His advice to young people is that they must never give up in their quest for their dreams.

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