A touch­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as SA football stars come to town

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

I WAS host to a high-pow­ered del­e­ga­tion of South Africans last week­end, and among them were for­mer Plat­inum Stars Football club chair­man Ad­vo­cate Ratanang Nke, Kick-off mag­a­zine writer ernest Fakude, Ge­of­frey moru­lane from Tlou Se­golela Sports de­vel­op­ment and Plat­inum Stars play­ers Tlou Se­golela, and Vuyo mere. Le­sotho-born for­mer Jomo Cos­mos midfielder Katleho Loke was also part of the tour­ing squad.

The group was in Le­sotho as part of their com­mu­nity Out­reach Pro­grammes. While I don’t want to use this plat­form to talk about things that are per­sonal, I feel this time it’s worth shar­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence which might help change the lives of many kids in our coun­try.

I had doubts that we would pull-it off as it was a bit dif­fi­cult to bring cer­tain big in­sti­tu­tions on board. How­ever, the ex­pe­ri­ence was so touch­ing I shed some tears in the end.

I never thought the pro­ject would bring such hap­pi­ness to the kids who man­aged to meet these top play­ers, as well as hav­ing their photos taken along­side them.

Since be­com­ing a sports jour­nal­ist, and my short stint work­ing for the Le­sotho Football As­so­ci­a­tion, I have ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of good things re­gard­ing the beau­ti­ful game.

How­ever, what I wit­nessed at the week­end will go down as a very spe­cial mo­ment in my life for the sim­ple fact that I was in­volved from day one when the pro­ject was be­ing planned. I saw the good side of these play­ers, who have been do­ing such noble deeds for years as part of an ini­tia­tive to give back to com­mu­ni­ties that have helped them be­come the football stars that they are. mere is the cap­tain at Plat­inum Stars and I wit­nessed all those lead­er­ship qual­i­ties do­ing tele­vi­sion and ra­dio in­ter­views with him as well as ad­dress­ing chil­dren at Le­qele and Loretto Pri­mary schools, as well as SOS chil­dren’s Home.

The same goes for Se­golela who is a very hum­ble young man who has gone through many try­ing times as a foot­baller and shared that ex­pe­ri­ence with the kids.

The for­mer Or­lando Pi­rates winger do­nated a soc­cer kit at Le­qele Pri­mary School and pledged blan­kets to SOS chil­dren’s Vil­lage, which will be handed over in the com­ing weeks.

The fact that these play­ers, and their team, left their coun­try for the trip to Le­sotho, on its own, meant a lot to the kids and is no doubt, a hum­ble ges­ture that we should cher­ish for­ever as a na­tion.

Hav­ing Ad­vo­cate Nke along made the visit even big­ger as he is a fa­ther-fig­ure to these play­ers.

Plat­inum Stars en­joyed a lot of suc­cess un­der his lead­er­ship, beat­ing big guns such as Or­lando Pi- rates, mamelodi Sun­downs and Kaizer chiefs to sil­ver­ware. I sug­gest our ad­min­is­tra­tors learn from the sac­ri­fice made by this man who also do­nated a soc­cer kit to Loretto dur­ing the Fri­day to Sun­day visit.

Like I said, it was a very spe­cial mo­ment for ev­ery­one in­volved, as well as the schools which were lucky enough to get such a visit.

It’s not ev­ery day that or­di­nary peo­ple like those kids get the chance to meet such big football stars in their own backyard.

I have to say, there is a lot that can be learnt from the pro­ject as our teams should also try to work with their com­mu­ni­ties on in­comegen­er­at­ing projects.

I guess this can be another way of teach­ing our play­ers that they are role mod­els and should act as lead­ers of change no-mat­ter where they could be, while also speak­ing out about the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion, and steer­ing clear of drugs and other so­cial ills.

At the end, I was very happy that not only did the tour­ing group do­nate two soc­cer kits, they also em­pow­ered the chil­dren by teach­ing them about the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion, re­spect and also en­cour­ag­ing them to dream big.

I must also thank the Le­sotho Football As­so­ci­a­tion, through their sec­re­tary gen­eral mokhosi mo­hapi, as they man­aged to come on board and gave ac­com­mo­da­tion to the tour­ing team at their Bam­batha Tšita Sports Arena premises.

We all know sport can be used as a tool to bring change as it has hap­pen in many coun­tries, and I have no doubt this visit would do ex­actly that to these chil­dren and the lo­cal com­mu­nity that had the chance to in­ter­act with the tour­ing party.

Mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion pose with some of the Le­qele Pri­mary School stu­dents wear­ing the new kit last Fri­day.

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