We are Young Bafana
Thando's Tour Diary – Part 2
We’ve just begun the long journey home. Knowing that we have two days of travelling ahead does nothing to damper my happiness. This has been the most wonderful time with my teammates and coaches.
The best part was the six amazing soccer games we played. Many of the teams were tough opponents however we still managed to win five games and draw one. It was interesting that many of the teams played a similar style of soccer to us. We had to dig deep after the travelling and late nights but we still managed to play some really good soccer. Endurance was key in the game. As was our determination to win. These two combined, lead us to some hard won victories and some great goals!
This tour has given me so many new experiences. Apart from the soccer obviously, my favourite excursion on the tour was when we went to uSHaka Marine World. The weather was super hot which meant it was great to cool off in the pool. At first I was scared to go down the rides so I just spent some time in the paddling pools. Would I be able to go down even though I can’t swim? Eventually after seeing some other kids going down, I decided to be brave. My favourite was the ride called the python. Kind of ironic seeing as I’m so scared of snakes. I screamed all the way down and landed with a big splash at the bottom. It was great. We also went to the aquarium where we saw loads of marine life. It was truly fascinating.
On Wednesday we went on a game drive. I’ve only seen animals in books but now we got to see them in real life. We saw impala, nyala, blesbok, zebra and giraffe. It was here that I had my most terrifying moment. We were driving along when all of a sudden the game ranger stopped the landrover. Right in front of us was the most enormous snake! It was a python and looked about 3m long. We sat and watched it for about 10 minutes before it slowly slithered away in to the grass. I think it took another hour for my heart beat to slow down.
The funniest time we had was during a walk in a forest near to the school where we were staying. All the boys started to sing and dance when we reached one of the clearings. I jumped in the middle and did the vosho. But then John, our coach was pushed in to the middle. He danced and danced while we clapped and sang. He’s not bad for an old man!
I’m looking forward to seeing my family when I get home. I’ve never been away from them and I can’t wait to tell them all about the trip. I’m sure I won’t remember to tell them everything but what I won’t forget is to tell them how grateful I am to Young Bafana for taking me on the trip. Ngiyabonga Coach and Young Bafana!
Thando’s Tour Diary – Part 1
It’s 5am and I’m already awake and ready to go. I know I’m early but I’m so excited to be heading on the Young Bafana Tour to Natal. I just couldn’t sleep last night.
We are all meeting at 5:30am at the taxi rank to begin our journey. My dad calls for me to come so we can walk down to it. It’s still dark and I feel a little bit nervous. I guess it’s partly from walking through the township at night and partly from excitement for the tour. I’ve never been on a sports tour before. I’ve never been on any tour. In fact I’ve never travelled further than Cape Town which is about 40km away from my home. Today will be the start of an experience which I’m sure I will never forget!
As we reach the taxi rank, I see the rest of my teammates standing with John, our coach. Everyone is laughing excitedly while packing their bags in their allocated mini buses. It was so cool yesterday when we each received our tour bags, with beanies, warm fleece tops and toiletries. It made me feel really special and part of the team.
It’s time to say goodbye to our families. We all shout one last goodbye and, armed with our food packs for the day, we set off on the journey. We’ll be travelling for two days to get to Natal, with a stopover in Bloemfontein.
The trip is long, it takes most of the day. But we arrive safely and quickly settle in to our accommodation for the night. Tomorrow we play our first match at St Charles. It’s just a friendly match with some of the boarders there. I can’t wait to get back on the field! I just hope my hamstring is ok.
🇿🇦 Day 5, Durban Tour 🇿🇦 Today was a very special day for 2 reasons. Firstly, the boys visited the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in the morning. Boy, what an interesting and inspiring outing. Secondly, we faced @iammichaelhouse in the afternoon and more interestingly our top goal scorer of the 2016 season was on the other side of the pitch. Final score 0:3, in favour of Young Bafana. Tomorrow we will have some fun in the morning and in the afternoon we face Hilton College⚽️. Thank you @sirfruit_ for the delicious and well needed drinks. #WeAreYoungBafana #changinglives⚽️😎 #football #tour #travel #play #soccer #boys #team #tradition #explore #happy #durban #kzn #winners #southafrica
The match is great! And so was my hamstring. We won our match and look forward to heading to Pietermaritzburg tomorrow. We had a great meal with the boys from St Charles and ended up staying up very late chatting and talking to them. It was cool to make friends with people from a different area to us.
We will be playing matches every afternoon for the rest of the tour. That leaves the mornings for some fun and sadly some school work. Liam, our after school teacher has come on the tour with us so we can still do some schoolwork.
I am really looking forward to three of our excursions. A game drive, (I just hope we don’t see any snakes! I’m really scared of them.) a trip to the Mandela Capture Site and a morning spent at uShaka Marine World. I can’t swim but our coach promised us that we would still be able to go on some of the water rides.
Although we’ve only been on tour a few days, I have really had the best time so far. It is such a privilege to have this opportunity and to see more of the beautiful country in which we live. Lwandle in the Cape is still the most beautiful for me and I’m proud to represent my home town and Young Bafana here.
Oh, and one more thing … the food is awesome!!!
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.