We will be world champions

By Drum Digital
15 September 2010

AS A little kid he would watch jubilant soccer players doing back flips after scoring a goal on makeshift pitches in his home village. And when he went home he’d watch the dazzling trickery of French soccer star Zinedine Zidane on his family’s dilapidated TV set.

He would dream of belonging to a football team, of taking part in major tournaments, of mimicking the magic of Zidane – and of maybe one day even meeting the shaven-headed maestro. Little did Sanele Mkhize know that at the age of 11 he would have fulfilled his dream . . .

The bright-eyed youngster will soon lead his soccer team onto the pitch in an international tournament involving 40 sides – and he has already met Zinedine Zidane.

Sanele, who hails from Zibuse in Hammarsdale outside Durban, is captain of the Sinenzuzo Primary School side, which won the local rounds to represent South Africa at the international Danone Nations Cup – the largest tournament in the world for kids aged 10 to 12.

With no proper equipment or soccer boots, the team shook off local, regional and provincial competition to emerge winners in the national finals after defeating Eastern Cape side Sada Higher Primary 3-0 in May.

And how does Zidane, three times World Player of the Year and the French captain who took his side to World Cup glory in 1998, come into the picture? Well, he’s the tournament’s global ambassador and recently paid a goodwill visit to the local winning team, fielding questions from the boys and getting onto the field with them.

“You kids are really lucky to get an opportunity to compete in world finals,” he said. “You will be meeting people from all corners of the globe and your games will be shown on TV all around the world – you must enjoy every minute of the experience. Just have fun.”

Read the full article in the Drum of 23 September 2010

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