Breaking the shackles of drugs through soccer

2012-08-21 00:00

SOCCER has given hope to a group of homeless friends.

They come from different backgrounds but share a common goal — they want to be professional soccer players.

Two of them, Sibonisani Ndima (18) and Siyabonga Ndlovu (23), already have one foot in the door as they could be chosen to take part in the Homeless World Cup to be held in Mexico in October. The two will be going to Cape Town next month for trials.

“I am so happy and very grateful. This could give me a chance to play for Maritzburg United one day,” said Ndima.

They recently came back from trials in Port Elizabeth where the two were selected.

The trip was sponsored by Charmaine Strydom from Harcourts 1st Realtors. The youngsters also need sponsors for the trip to Cape Town next month.

Ndima (18), from Jika Joe, dropped out of school in Grade 6. His parents’ constant fighting and screaming eventually drove him to the streets.

“My parents drank a lot. They would fight and swear. That made me feel bad,” said Ndima.

He got mixed up with the wrong crowd and started using drugs, but his life changed after he came in contact with social workers.

“It is very hard,” he said.

Despite his ordeals, Ndima still has hope for a bright future. He lit up as he spoke about his dream. “I love soccer. It gives me hope. I would love to play it professionally.”

His friend Ndlovu is also very excited about going to Cape Town.

“I am happy. I could sing and scream,” he said.

Ndlovu lost his father in 2002, and things turned sour after the loss. “I felt like killing myself,” said Ndlovu.

He was in Grade 9 at the time and dropped out of school and then started taking drugs. “Drugs made me feel like a king. I felt like I was on top of the world.”

Fortunately for him, he had people around to warn him about the dangers of using drugs and has since stopped.

Although he still has his mother and sister, he has chosen not to stay with them due to the cramped conditions they stayed in. Originally from Kwamachibisa, Ndlovu now stays in Scottsville.

He works as a car guard and makes R80 a day.

The thought of playing professional soccer and having his own family one day keeps him going.

“I want my children to go to school and have a good life. They must not repeat my mistakes.”

Ndlovu, Ndima and others are a part of a Youth Justice programme provided by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

The programme is aimed at preventing children and the youth from going to prison.

“We approach them on the streets, others get referred to us through friends. We give them support and talk to them about issues like HIV, drugs or things that they might be going through in their lives. We also cook for them” said Swazi Mavuso, YMCA co-ordinator.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.