Benny’s Sports Development Academy from Makhado, Limpopo, might only have finished in seventh position overall in the under-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, but a fine performance in the national final by one of its team members has led to him getting an opportunity of a lifetime.
Attacking midfielder, Lesedi Katinga, has been invited to attend a camp from the 29th November to 4th December, run by Mamelodi Sundowns, based in Cloorkop, Midrand. Not only will he get an opportunity to be trained by some of the best soccer development coaches in South Africa, but will also get to play against the Mamelodi Sundowns first team.
At the end of the camp 3 or 4 players will be invited to join the Sundowns development academy, and Katinga is hoping He will be one of them.
Katinga hails from Musina where he lives with his mother and half brother. Soccer is his focus and the career path he would like to follow. “I have not thought beyond soccer and Benny’s Sports has been the right school for me, being the only sports school in Limpopo,” he said.
Katinga was groomed in soccer from an early age by his cousin, the late Lesley Manyathela, who played for Orlando Pirates before he was killed in a car accident. “He was my hero and role model and would give me advice on how to be a better player. I would sit and watch him on TV with so much pride. He also did so much to promote our small town of Musina and I would like to continue to fly the town’s flag – even have my own team one day aimed at helping build future stars,” he said.
“With my cousin no longer with us I now look up to the likes of Lionel Messi - he is a star quality player and he never disappoints. I really love watching him as he works very hard, which shows on the pitch.”
Katinga joined Musina United FC in 2010 and was spotted by Benny’s coach, Justice Matloga, at a tournament and asked to come to the school. “I went there in 2011 and have never looked back,” he said.
The young footballer is not new to Chloorkop. “I was invited to attend trials for Sundowns in 2011 and 2012 but was not selected into the Academy. This year I have been invited to attend a camp and I am hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky. I just have to work hard and focus on my training. I think that my soccer career has a better chance in Gauteng than in Limpopo as there are more opportunities and the facilities are better,” he said.
Playing in the tournament has exposed Katinga to the sponsors, Sanlam, and he has learnt how they help people save money through investing wisely instead of wasting money, by teaching financial literacy. “We need to learn how to save money and look for opportunities for investment. One day I would like to own a business but I don’t know what type of business I want yet, so Sanlam can be of great help to me,” he said.
As provincial champions Benny’s gets R100 000 to be spent on projects that will benefit the school and community at large.
FK Tjiane, from Dennilton were provincial final runners up thereby qualifying for a spot in the national finals where they finished in 13th out of the 18 schools competing.
Results of Limpopo Schools
FK Tjiane 1 vs Clapham 9
Ndamase 0 vs Benny's Sports 9
FK Tjiane 0 vs Freedom Park 0
Benny's Sport 1 vs HTS Louis Botha 1
Harmony 6 v FK Tjiane 0
Eric Nxumalo 3 Benny's Sports 2
Sebetwaned 0 FK Tjiane 2
Benny's Sports 1 Okiep 0
Rietvale 2 FK Tjiane 1
East High 0 Benny's Sports 3
Positions 13 – 16 Sibongumusa 1 vs FK Tjiane 2
Positions 5 – 8: Okiep 1 vs Benny’s Sport 1
Positions 13 – 14: FK Tjiane 1 vs Ndamase 0Positions 7 – 8: Cloetesville 0 vs Benny’s Sports 0 (Benny’s won 4 – 2 on penalties).