Neeskens shares soccer insights with SA coaches
HE HAS coached the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez, to name a few.
Now Dutch football legend Johan Neeskens is back in the country to share his wisdom and expertise with local soccer coaches.
On Monday in Joburg, the former Barcelona FC assistant manager will take charge of the first of many soccer coaching workshops, hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations.
Fifty coaches will take part in workshops in Joburg and Pietermaritzburg, and 50 more will receive training in November. Neeskens, a former Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam midfielder who coached Mamelodi Sundowns for a season, said he was happy to be back.
“It’s always good to be here, especially to be part of the football development for coaches.
“I’m excited about the workshops as we will be (helping) new youth coaches to ‘find the Madiba in themselves’ through football,” Neeskens said.
The coaches participating in the programme have been selected by the Soweto Local Football Association, the Gauteng department of education and the SA Football Association. Participants, who include former Banyana Banyana star Amanda Dlamini, former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena and Banyana star Nompumelelo “Mpumi” Nyandeni, will leave the workshops as qualified Safa D-Licence coaches, as well as with a KNVB World coaching certificate.
Neeskens, an important member of the Dutch national team that finished as runners-up in the 1974 and 1978 Fifa World Cups, said Madiba made a big impact on his life.
Mandela, in my opinion, has affected many people of my age, with his fight for people’s rights and his strong sense of justice. It has always inspired me to never give up,” he said.
He will be teaching local coaches how to train and inspire children, both on and off the field, at the workshops.
“The most important lesson from football is that on the field everyone’s the same, no matter what background or colour you have.
“It is an equal game of winning or losing, with great values that can be translated to normal life,” he said.
Meanwhile, Neeskens predicted that France would win the World Cup final tomorrow.
Talia du Plessis, 3, with the help of volunteer Caleb Williamson, 16, puts groceries into a collection container at Pick n Pay Hypermarket in Ottery yesterday as 500 of its stores across the country launched the 2018 Mandela Day Food Drive Collection Weekend. The drive ends tomorrow.