THE theme of the annual Danone Nations Cup competition is “Believe in your Dreams” and every year inspiring and motivating stories emerge, showing that the tournament allows young boys to do just that.
This year two players from Nancy Shiba Primary School in Witbank made the point very well.
The School did exceptionally well this year, their second year playing in the tournament, thanks mainly to the contribution of two exceptionally gifted players, Kamohelo and Kagiso Mashiloane.
The twin boys have a fine football pedigree as their father, Petros ‘Zane’ Mashiloane, played for Witbank Spurs in the 1990s.
After retiring from the game Petros became a truck driver and also started his own club in Nkangala and from the age of 5 years old the boys would go with him and watch him training the team and they would also attend games.
At the provincial finals back in May, in attendance were the scouts from Mamelodi Sundowns and they were so impressed with the youngsters that they signed them up immediately and they are now part of the club’s development academy going through to Pretoria on a weekly basis to attend training.
Even though Kamohelo plays in defence, he scored one of the best goals of the 2016 Danone Nations Cup in the national finals against Van Rensburg Primary. In the same manouvre he also showed off his dribbling skills when he outsmarted 2 opponents and the goalkeeper to score a cracker.
Petros watched his boys play in both the provincial and national finals and he is very proud of their performances. “I’m grateful to Danone for giving this wonderful opportunity to the boys. It opens doors, build confidence and careers. I never had such opportunities in my playing days,” he said.
Playing for the Sundowns Academy is a dream come true for the youngsters, Petros said. “There is an exceptional bond between the two boys and the fact that both were selected for Sundowns was good for them as they want to be together. They play better when they are together.”
The Sundowns Scout, Mandla Mazibuko said that Kamohelo is a mini version of current Sundowns player Keagan Dolly. He is small, but dynamite comes in small packages.
Training is intense at Sundowns,” said Kamohelo. “The coaches are very strict in terms of ensuring the players listen to instructions. We learn something different from each of the coaches that train us, like coach Joel Masilela tells us that we need to practice even if we are not at camp and we need to be as respectful at home as we are on the field of play. Coach Mandla Mazibuko is teaching us dribbling and passing techniques.”
Midfielder, Kagiso is excited to be at Sundowns with his brother and best friend. “We like to play together,” he said. “It’s great that we were both invited to be part of the Sundowns Academy.”
“I am really enjoying making new friends as well as being trained by the best coaches and learning new soccer techniques all the time,” he said. “I am enjoying learning how to track the ball and how to execute penalty shots.”
Developing good eating habits is an important part of being a good footballer said Kagiso. “We are being taught how to combine foods and how to eat properly as well as what best to eat before and after games. We have to be disciplined in terms of what to eat and dairy products and proteins are essential for bone health. NutriDay yoghurt is a product we must consume daily as it is a smart snack and is tolerated even for those with dairy intolerance.”
“I really enjoy assistant coach Teenage Dladla, who I hear a lot about from my father as he was once an top South African footballer. He tells us that we must focus on our school work as much as our soccer so that when we become top professional players we will be able to understand contracts. He says that all soccer careers come to an end and we need to be able to then go into the work place and become businessmen, doctors or even soccer club owners,” said Kagiso.
During school holidays and on weekends the boys still play football, but at the local orphanage where their older sister, Phelo, is a child and youth giver, explained the boy’s mother, Khabonina Mashiloane. “I am the balancing influence in the family as I make sure the boys do their homework. I am not a football fan and leave it to their father to help with this regard. Both boys are quiet and like to stay at home when not playing football and watch sport on TV.”
For Kamohelo, the best thing about having a twin is there is always someone to play with and they never get bored. “When we are together we discuss school work and we watch a lot of soccer on TV together. We like to compare all the players and decide who is better in the various positions,” he said.