Over 200 young soccer enthusiasts participated in a two-day boot camp in Umlazi, Durban on 16 and 17 July 2022 and learnt that becoming a professional soccer player is about so much more than scoring goals!

The Brilliant Khuzwayo Schools Bootcamp and Tournament took place at the Mangosuthu University of Technology sports grounds and the jam-packed programme included talks by current and former PSL players and KwaZulu-Natal legends.

The seasoned players and veterans spoke to the learners not only about what it takes to pursue a career in soccer, but about making positive life choices and the importance of values, respect, being disciplined and never giving up.

Bongumenzi Sabela, an author who has experienced first-hand what it takes to escape the clutches of drug addiction, shared his story and warned the aspiring football stars about the dangers of drugs, highlighting how important it is to have a strong support network in the form of family and friends.

Ranyaka’s local coordinator in Umlazi, Andile Mafa, focussed on the business of soccer in his talk – and the importance of developing businesses – for example, having soccer jerseys manufactured locally and linking soccer games to local vendors so that in addition to hosting great sporting events, one also contributes to the local economy.

Day two saw the young players head out onto the field for a tournament that saw 16 schools battle it out to claim the tournament trophy.

Thank you to all the participating sponsors and stakeholders: The Brilliant Khuzwayo Foundation, of course; MTN, the Nedbank Proud of my Town programme, the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation, the Department of Basic Education’s local sport committee and the Mangosuthu University of Technology. The Nedbank PoMT initiative sponsored the tent and stage hire, over 200 T-shirts as well as transport which made it possible for all the learners to join in the bootcamp action.

Umlazi is one of  21 communities in 9 towns in 8 provinces across South Africa that is part of Nedbank’s Proud of my Town (PoMT) initiative. Ranyaka is the implementation agent for PoMT. Sport, Art & Culture is one of ten programmes that fall under the PoMT umbrella.