The Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup is as much about community building and education as it is about football. Recently Gauteng East held their regional finals and it was evident how the tournament has touched the lives of the Kwa-Thema community.
Vezukhono Secondary School was one of the schools that played. Although they did not advance to the next round of the competition, their coach, Tim Borolo, said the main benefit of playing in the competition is to help kids overcome social and life difficulties. “Some of the learners in the school find it difficult to fit in as they are either orphans or have no parents and live with other family members,” he said.
“They lack confidence and are loners. We use soccer to help them fit in and feel normal and accepted. Participation in the tournament lessens the stresses of life and builds confidence and gives them a feeling of belonging which impacts on their school work.”
Borolo gives the example of Lindo and Mzwandile Calaza, who are cousins and who attend the school. They have suffered many a hardship in their short 18 years. They come from Kwamashu in KwaZulu-Natal and were identified by a football academy in Pretoria after impressing at trials last year. At the end of the first year their parents could not afford the school fees so they had to pull out.
The cousins now attend Vezukhono and live in a house without adult supervision. Every month their parents send money to the school and the school helps the boys administer it so that they can pay for living expenses.
The cousins believe that education is important and they work hard so that they can eventually study at university. Lindo wants to study a BCOM accounting through UNISA and Mzwandile wants to study BCOM Sports Management at WITS.
“The Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup was founded on the principle of giving Under-19 players a platform to put on their best performance to be identified by coaches and placed in programmes where they can mature into professionals,” said Frank Louw, Sanlam Sponsorship Manager. “But not all players at this level will become professionals and for them we want to endorse education and help them become financially literate.”