Fix schools to fix soccer

2012-01-21 00:00

NOW dear reader, don’t get your hopes high.

This is not a question from “Who wants to be a millionaire?”.

Even if you gave the correct answer you would not get to chew the fat with sushi king Kenny Kunene as a prize.

The question is: “Who was the KwaZulu master footballer who used to score goals so often he earned the nickname ‘King of Ellis Park?’”

I knew you would not get it — Moran Samora Khulu, the nuggety striker who ended up with the Phefeni glamour boys, Kaizer Chiefs.

Memories of the exploits of the likes of Samora Khulu, Shane McGregor, Marks Maponyane and Lawrence Chelin have been on my mind of late,

Maybe that is because of the dry spell that our nation’s soccer team Bafana Bafana have been going through lately.

In 1998, this writer was privileged to write and co-produce a soccer drama for the SABC: “Lisenethini — It’s a goal!”. The production company was Urban Brew.

Every one of the 13 episodes of the drama was dedicated to to a star from yesteryear who had been denied a chance to showcase his skills internationally by the system of apartheid.

Stars like Patson “Kamus” Banda, Patrick “Ace” Ntsolelngoe, Zachariah “Maria-Maria” Lamola and Matsilele “Jomo” Sono.

What am I getting at, you might ask. A number of commentators have bemoaned the absence of a fighting spirit in Bafana Bafana of late. You know — that they lack the devotion to the cause shown by “the Barker Boys” (coached by Clive Barker) when South Africa went on to win the African Nations Cup when we hosted the competition.

Who can forget the crowd’s shout of “Shooes”, “Feeesh” and “Rhoooo!” whenever Bafana star John “Shoes” Moshoeu, Mark Fish and Lucas “Rhoo” Radebe touched the ball in an international match?

Marcus Garvey, the Afro-Caribbean leader, once wrote: “A nation without the knowledge of its past history and origin is like a tree without roots.” Of course, former national coach (and African nations’ cup winner) Clive Barker has had his turn, but does he and his fellow-travellers from the era of the triumphant Bafana Bafana side really have nothing to offer in our quest to re-capture the magic?

On another level, one is impressed by the attempts by people like Patrice Mptsepe to re-introduce soccer at our high schools.

The “Kay Motsepe-Sanlam soccer cup” for high schools is a good project.

Former stars like Patrick “Let Them dance” Molala, Nelson “Teenage” Dladla-Tutu. Jan “Malombo|” Lechaba and Mescha “Wonderboy” Mjangqeka showed the glimpses of their later shining talent while still at high school.

In any case, especially in black schools, children have to be encouraged to take up sport like soccer, netball, softball, etc, to counter drug taking by school children.

As Plato said, “a healthy body houses a healthy mind”

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