We Are Young Bafana: At the game

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Young Bafana has a positive week this week as they enjoy a game of football

We are Young Bafana

Chapter 10

At the game

John and Liam watched with pride as their U16 team took the lead in this important Inter- LFA league match. Should they win this game, they would be one step closer to winning their league for 2018. Many hours had been spent encouraging the boys to keep to their own style of soccer, regardless of the way in which their opponents played.

It had been a tough week for Young Bafana. Reeling from the shock of the attack on Simba, John and Liam had spent the week supporting him. Though the physical wound was healing well, it was obvious that Simba was still carrying the emotional wounds. It would take months before he would be able to walk down the street and not have that sick feeling in his stomach anticipating another attack.

 

 

When John received the call that Simba had been injured he was again reminded of the harsh circumstances which many of the boys lived under. This was not the first time that someone had been injured through a violent attack and would certainly not be the last. Working for an NGO brought one into a world where life was harsh and jagged around the edges.

It could get you down. Fortunately, there was a strong bond between all the staff at Young Bafana. Most days the staff connected to discuss their role in the academy. It was good to have someone to discuss how to improve one’s coaching methods, or even to get new ideas on how to meet the shortcomings which many boys had with regards to their education. Some days, however, the most important part of John and Liam’s interactions was when they supported each other in how they supported the kids.

 

 

Working with a group of previously disadvantaged kids ensured that you were forever changed. The way they crept into your heart meant that there were always nights when you lay awake wondering how you could have the biggest impact in influencing their lives for the better. And of course, there were the nights when you lay awake worrying that you were falling short of making a big enough difference.

Watching the boys play, the two men felt pride at how the boys were playing. The opposition seemed to insist on playing a ‘kick and rush’ game. The Young Bafana boys were consistently playing short, sharp passes. There were no long balls where they could lose possession of the ball. Their counter pressing was excellent and perfectly played out when Thando took control of the ball, sending it from the middle to the outside. It was sent straight back into the middle setting the boys up for a beautiful goal.

 

 

The crowd went wild as Thando sent the ball sailing Into the goals. The roar of the crowd was deafening, accompanied by the banging of the stands in appreciation of the skills exhibited on the field.

It had been a great day for Young Bafana. They had risen above the pain of the last week and kept their heads during a difficult game. John smiled as the boys rushed over to him after the game. One step closer to winning their league, the boys cheered and sang as they made their way off the field.

 

We are Young Bafana is a collaborative project between Goal.com and the Young Bafana Soccer Academy. This is a fictional story loosely based on real-life events and experiences of the community of Lwandle, a township in the Somerset West area in the Western Cape.  

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