Youths to jet off to World Cup

2018-05-10 06:00
Hlonela Sitenge (left) and Solethu Mabhenu, members of the Young Bafana Soccer Academy’s under-14 team, will jet off to Russia for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.Photo: Rodney Belchem

Hlonela Sitenge (left) and Solethu Mabhenu, members of the Young Bafana Soccer Academy’s under-14 team, will jet off to Russia for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.Photo: Rodney Belchem

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Young Bafana Soccer Academy hosted a successful golf day at the prestigious De Zalze Golf Course in Stellenbosch on Tuesday 17 April.

The round of golf was followed by an auction in commemoration of the academy’s partnership with Gazprom and the Football For Friendship programme.

“Young Bafana aims to provide an opportunity for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said founder Bernd Steinhage.

“These youngsters face challenging situations daily, and what Young Bafana can provide is a safe environment where they can express their love for soccer wholly.”

In addition, the academy remains focused on the education of the young talented footballers, with the sole purpose of establishing facilities for after-school academic and sports upliftment.

Last week’s event allowed Steinhage and the rest of the club’s management the opportunity to pay homage to Gazprom’s social project — Football For Friendship.

This initiative has gifted five delegates from the Young Bafana family the opportunity to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia in June.

Delegates from the local academy will include Steinhage, coaches Veron Peter and Graham Knott as well as two under-14 players, Hlonela Sitenge and Solethu Mabhenu.

They will accompany the YB management on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see some of soccer’s greatest grace the international stage.

Hlonela will be fulfilling the role of a journalist at the World Cup, while Solethu is hoping to create lasting memories and gain from this valuable learning experience.

Also seen on the course and at the function were Young Bafana ambassador and Cape Town City FC striker Matthew Rusike along with teammate Roland Putsche.

All auctioned items were donated by various sponsors and parents.

Some unique items on the auction table included a canvas of Young Bafana beneficiary handprints and a complete signed u-16 Young Bafana soccer kit.

Although the items were rather pricy, a bottle of 2007 Webersburg 5-litre Magnum, for example, and a Roland Putsche soccer jersey and a handprinted canvas were among the most popular items among the bidding guests.

Hlonela was full of smiles, and rightfully so, as the 11-year-old believes that the family culture in the academy does well for everyone involved.

“The best part of being part of Young Bafana is the educational support and feel of family,” he says.

“I really enjoy being with my Young Bafana teammates; it’s as if we never want to say goodbye.”

Young Bafana is not just an educational academy; as recently as this year it enrolled its first senior men’s side.

They competed in the Helderberg Local Football Association and have won two games so far this season –remarkable for a side playing in its first season.

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