Neeskens shares soc­cer in­sights with SA coaches

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SAMEER NAIK

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.

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

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.

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