Former pros do coach training

2019-03-05 06:00
Learners from Fezeka High School took part in a training camp at Hickory Road Astro Turf in Athlone last week.

Learners from Fezeka High School took part in a training camp at Hickory Road Astro Turf in Athlone last week.

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Hickory Road Astro Turf in Athlone played host to a special coaching clinic for children from the Fezeka High School, in Gugulethu.

Former local talents and national players, Neil Winstanley and Ryan Botha, showed off their skills and shared their wisdom around the game at the facility on Saturday 23 February as part of their Infinite Skilz movement, a CSI project which aims to harness the power of youth through sports mentorship with the aim to invest and develop their talents for positive life impact.

The children were also given gear from Under Armour.

“Infinite Skilz is highlighting the need for youth development and the lack of investment in sport in South Africa. The great man himself Nelson Mandela couldn’t have said it better: ‘Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does,” says Winstanley.

With a long, star-studded career, Winstanley has played as both defender and full back for Bidvest Wits, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns. He also represented Bafana Bafana.

“It’s my personal experience that sport breaks down racial barriers and discrimination and brings communities together,” says Winstanley. He called for the nation to encourage children to play sport as an alternative to crime, drugs and gangsterism.

“Kids are our future and the lessons we would like to teach them through this initiative will hopefully last them a lifetime,” says Winstanley

Botha agrees that sport in South Africa has stagnated and that progression starts with the nation’s youth.

Botha played as professional striker and left winger. Among others he played for SuperSport United, Wits, Tervarit (Finland 1st division), Mypa, FC Inter, Denizlispor (Turkey premier league), Thanda Royal, Moroka Swallows, and Platinum Stars.

Botha also played for South Africa in Olympic qualifiers and in the UEFA Cup.

“I feel strongly that without giving back years of experience in the game that has treated us so well we would be letting down all those that had dreams of becoming a professional athlete but couldn’t,” said Botha.

He says one of his favourite sporting memories was scoring two goals in the first four minutes of South Africa’s Olympic qualifier against Algeria.

Botha has been drilling the kids his favourite finishing drills, watching as that ball sails into the top corner of the goals. The kids were put through a programme of both basic motor skills and fundamental football skills, but more essentially, teamwork was monitored. More intense training was also shared regarding dribbles and turns, kicking with both feet, speed and explosive footwork.

“Nothing beats that feeling of playing in front of 110 000 people at the FNB Stadium,” says Winstanley, referring to his playing days for Kaizer Chiefs. “We want to empower these kids to look at aiming their talents at that.”

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