The first time I saw a township was from the seat of my plane landing at Cape Town International Airport.
Thousands of silver sheet metal roof houses of the Khayelitsha Township were shimmering in the sun and I could not imagine how people could live there.
My name is Mark Schnier. I am a German intern at Young Bafana Soccer Academy, a NGO organisation offering a holistic development programme for children from historically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds in Cape Town through soccer and education.
Before I came to the academy I studied Sports Economics and worked as a personal trainer for four years.
Every intern at Young Bafana has a different focus and mine is to educate the coaches in respect of strength and endurance training, nutrition and fitness analyses. This is done by preparing and delivering weekly workshops. I attend the training of all of our teams and supervise the correctness and intensity of the units. This is especially important for our U/18 team who are in the super league and need preparation for senior football.
My daily work routine consists of documenting each player’s fitness and condition level and designing the specific exercises for each case, I have discovered that our players all need to improve their core strength to be able to withstand the physical challenges on the ball. Fitness and conditioning are two different things and my aim is to improve the conditioning of every player. I am also responsible for the equipment we use and the funding thereof through donations and sponsorships.
Education is a very important component of what we do at Young Bafana and I assist the players in the classroom with their English lessons. I am very proud of the players for realising that the only way to a better future is through education and soccer is the vehicle which will help them realise those dreams.