The SASFA Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup gives young footballers between the ages of 15 and 19 the opportunity to showcase their talent and stand the chance of being spotted by professional soccer scouts. For the top performers this is indeed an opportunity to realise their dreams of playing professional football and it starts when they are recruited into the academies of PSL clubs.
Mamelodi Sundowns released the names of three players who were identified at the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup last year and who have now been taken into the club’s development academy. The players are: Themba Madonsela and Simamkele Radebe, both 18 year-old midfielders from Soshanguve and Abram Ncqobo, a 17 year-old goalkeeper from Hamaanskraal.
Themba Madonsela was born and raised in Soshanguve. His mother, a single parent, died when he was 15 and his grandmother then took care of him and his siblings. She died last year and Themba, as the oldest, had to take care of his two brothers.
Themba was playing for Sinthibele High School in the Tshwane regional finals of the 2012 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup against Clapham High School when Mamelodi Sundowns first spotted him. The school managed to beat Clapham to reach the provincial finals when Sam Mbatha, Rhulani Mokoena and Malombo Lechaba, from the Mamelodi Sundowns Development Academy, gave him the opportunity to undergo trials at the club.“I didn’t even know that they were present let alone watching me,” he said. “I was called to my principal’s office and he told me that I was invited by Mamelodi Sundowns Youth Academy for trials.
“I went for trials on in September and was told the same day that I had passed and that arrangements will be made for me to move to the Mamelodi Sundowns Academy and start 2013 at a new school. Words can’t describe how excited I was. But I had to think of my brothers before accepting the offer. Do I put my life on hold till they are old enough or do I pursue my dream? I didn’t want the opportunity to pass me by like the other opportunities before.”
When he was 12 years old Orlando Pirates invited him to join their academy but his mother refused, saying he was too young. Then Golden Arrows invited him for trials at 15. “That time my mother did agree, but I couldn’t go due to my school commitments. It was decided that I would go to Durban after my examinations, but two days before I was due to leave my mom passed away, so I didn’t go,” he said. “The Sundowns offer was a dream come true and an opportunity I could not pass over so I asked my uncle and his wife to help me out and they agreed to look after my brothers leaving me to focus on is my studies and soccer.”
Themba is adapting well at his new school. “The first month was difficult because I was still trying to get used to my classmates and new teachers but I am slowly settling in now,” he said.
“I just have to work hard and stay motivated. I am currently in grade 12 and would like to study law next year. It is not going to be easy but I know I can make it, if not for me then for my siblings.”
Sam Mbatha, added, “Sadly in South Africa Themba’s situation is not uncommon. The Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup gives a window of opportunity to boys like Themba to work hard to rise above this and achieve a better life for themselves and their families. This is only the start of his journey and he will have to work very hard but we are confident that he can achieve his dreams.”
Frank Louw, Sanlam Sponsorship Manager said: “Themba’s story is what Sanlam stands for. We understand the value of development and the importance of realising the hopes of young people. The Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup creates opportunities that have a positive impact on the youth and also provides exposure for talented young players.”