“My Banyana Journey Was A Dream I Wish I Never Woke Up From”

“Giving up is not an option”, these are the words, Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies Goalkeeper Coach, Sean Louw, 26, lived by as his goalkeeping future looked blurry after being hit by a car while riding his bike on his way to school in 2010.


“When I had my second operation (to remove the nails) in September 2011, I sat at home, wondering what I could do while I couldn’t move my body the way I wanted to,” he explained.


The 26-year-old says continuing football was not even a choice so the next best thing was to coach.


“With my little knowledge of football and goalkeeping, I went to Grey College, my former school for 13 years, and asked if I could help out with coaching. I had previously been a goalkeeper for the school, my coach told me to take care of the goalkeepers. And that’s where the journey started,” he added.


Louw, was also eyeing opportunities in other clubs as his intention was to grow as a young goal keeper coach.


“I went to Roses United Football Club training session and asked if I could help out and learn the basics of a goalkeeper coach, Simon Gopane was the goalkeeper coach at the time and I admired their professionalism, especially considering they were an amateur club. They allowed me to stay there for a while and when the chairman bought Bloemfontein Celtic, he assigned me to the Ladies Team, that didn’t have a goalkeeper coach,” he added.


Louw then later met Desiree Ellis, the Banyana Banyana head coach. He told her about his work experience and told her to call whenever she needed a goalkeeper coach, as fate would have it, it so happened that Banyana was going to play a World Cup Qualifier in Bloemfontein and that’s when the young coach got his break with the women’s National team.


“I was involved in 15 games and we conceded 8 goals in that time. I won the Cosafa Cup and of course, a much-valued silver medal at AFCON,” he said.


The most exciting part of his Banyana experience is that his first ever camp was in his hometown and he celebrated his 26th birthday with the team a day after they had qualified for the World Cup.


“The goalkeeping department we had there was very tight and we learnt so much about each other. It was amazing to witness the work being done by Thembi Kgatlana and Coach Desiree Ellis that led them to winning the big individual awards that they won in the continental award ceremony,” Louw added.

He said that it was an honor for him as a young coach to be a part of the team of the year.


“I am honored to have been trusted with such a huge role in a huge team and I’ll forever be thankful to coach Desiree Ellis for fast tracking my career. In a nutshell, my Banyana journey was a dream I wish I never woke up from,” he explained.


As a person who is also working in the development structures in the South Africa, he feels that we are moving in the right direction, because the average age of female footballers in this country is getting lower and lower.


“We have seen an 18-year-old player going to the World Cup with Banyana and in our Celtic team, we have a 13-year-old that has already played in the National Playoffs and won Young Player of the Tournament,” he said.


His goals as a development coach are fuelled by his own career as a goalkeeper coach.


“At only 26, I can say I’ve qualified for the World Cup, I’ve won silver at the AFCON and I’ve won the Cosafa Cup. That’s got to say something about the development in this country,” Louw added.

He says his all-time favourite goalkeeper in the world is David de Gea.


“I love David, not only because I am a Manchester United supporter, but because many goalkeepers in the past have been criticized for not using their hands and instead using their legs to make saves. That very same attribute that people usually criticized, has seen De Gea win Manchester United’s player of the year for three consecutive years and in all honesty, he salvaged the little bit of respect left in a big club like Manchester United,” he said.


Louw received his Caf C License this Saturday, 10 August 2019 and says he wants to wants more coaching badges.


“I hope to see myself with a CAF A License as well as be a regular in the National setup, whether it’s junior or senior national teams. I also hope to see myself breaking away from Bloemfontein and plying my trade in the bigger teams in the country.” he concluded.

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“Development Is Where We Get To See The Future Of Our Football”

Developing players from grassroots level helps with not only developing their skills but also decision making on and off the field. Mandla Qhogi, Orlando Pirates’ MDC coach believes development helps with growing football in any country.


“Development is very crucial because that’s where we get to grow the player and also get to see the future of our football, that’s why campaigns like Shield Sibonis’ iDiski are important,” Qhogi said. 

Qhogi says when they were scouting for players for this campaign  they looked at technical abilities and the characteristics of the player at different positions. 


“If he’s a goal keeper, we look at their height, we check if they’re comfortable with their feet and if he commands presence in his goal area. If he’s a striker we look at a person who can play at a focal point, whether they’re able to assist in terms of creating goals. Different positions, demand different characters,” he added.


Zakhele Lepasa, the Former TS Galaxy FC striker who was also developed by Qhogi made history when he scored against Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Final which led to Galaxy being the first lower division club to win this prestigious competition. 


“We got Zakhele when he was 16 years old from Moroka Swallows. We decided to add him to the Orlando Pirates Academy so we could help him with any skills that he was lacking. He played for different age groups in our development including the SAB team and then we travelled with him to Brazil for the ProjectX initiative, that’s when we saw that the boy had potential,” the coach said.


He also added that Lepasa was then moved to the first team where they loaned him to Stellenbosch FC where he unfortunately didn’t have a lot of game time, they then loaned him to TS Galaxy where he scored 4 goals in the Nedbank Cup and also helped the team win the Nedbank Cup against Kaizer Chiefs.


“He’s back with the first team now and played as a substitute during the Carling Black Label Cup which is good for him,” Qhogi proudly said.


He said his advice to development coaches is that they need to remember that their role is to be mentors to these players.


“It’s important to groom players on and off the field because we are not just raising football players but we are raising leaders who we hope are going to make a difference in the community one day.” he concluded.

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From Informal Settlements to Barcelona

Rebonwe Primary School girls from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal’s Muzuvukile Primary School boys will be travelling to Spain to participate in the Danone Nations Cup world finals.

South Africa will make history later this year by sending an under-12 girls soccer team to compete in the Danone Nations Cup world finals, where they will be competing against seven other nations. The team that will represent the country will be a group of players from informal settlements in Ivory Park, Gauteng. They earned this opportunity by winning the Danone Nations Cup girls tournament that took place at Reiger Park, Boksburg this past weekend.

They will be accompanied by the boys from Muzuvukile Primary School of Enseleni, a rural area near Richards Bay, who won the boys national finals at the same venue.

The girls tournament was introduced for the first time this year but because most schools do not have girls-only teams, it was a pilot tournament in Gauteng only, with 40 schools participating.

Reiger Park , Boksburg : GV during the Danone Nations Cup 2019 Nations Finals on June 15, 2019 at the WJ Clements stadium, Reiger Park in Boksburg. (Photo by

There were regional finals and 8 schools went through to provincial playoffs. The teams that reached the semifinals were then invited to compete at the national finals.

Rebonwe Primary School met Michael Mkhwanazi Primary in the final. They had played each other earlier in the day and Michael Mkhwanazi won the closely contested match 2-1.

In the final encounter which saw these two sides locking horns once again, Rebonwe knew that they were in for a tough game in the final and gave it everything from the beginning. This time they were better prepared and created many scoring opportunities. They were first to score, but Michael Mkhwanazi equalised within minutes.

Reiger Park , Boksburg Action during the Danone Nations Cup 2019 Finals between Phathekile Primary (white) and Muzuvukile (light Blue) on June 15, 2019 at the WJ Clements stadium, Reiger Park in Boksburg. (Photo by Thabang Lepule)

Rebonwe had the better of the exchanges from then on and came close to scoring right at the end of the game. It ended in a draw, and went to a penalty shootout which Rebonwe won, to add the national title to their provincial title.

At the same time, the nine boys provincial champions competed in the playoffs for their national title. The teams were divided into 2 groups with the teams that topped the log meeting in the final.

Muzuvukile was always going to be the team to beat based on their exceptional performance in the provincial finals. They are a very strong team and three of their players have been invited to attend trials at Mamelodi Sundowns. They won all their league games to finish top of their pool and met Group B winners Patekile from the Eastern Cape in the final match.

Muzuvukile were the only team that won all their matches leading up to the final and the final was very much like the group stages.

They created plenty of chances to score but the Patekile goalkeeper, Alethu Mathumbu, was outstanding, saving one shot after another. Patekile tried to take advantage of the odd counter-attack but they never really threatened the Muzuvukile goal.

With only a couple of minutes left in the match, just as the spectators started to think that we would have another penalty shootout, Siyanda Masinga from Muzuvukile managed to get the ball past Alethu and give Muzuvukile the lead. They had a few more chances to add to their lead but it wasn’t to be – Final score, 1-0 to Muzuvukile.

It’s now back to school for both the boys and girls winners to put together a plan in preparation of the world finals scheduled for Barcelona starting on 10th October.

On the final day of the world finals – 12th October – all the games will take place at the RCDE Stadium, home ground La Liga club, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona.

Rebonwe Primary School celebrates lifting the trophy during the 2019 Danone Nations Cup Finals at the Reiger Park, Boksburg on the 14 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

In attendance at the national finals was Amanda Dlamini, former captain of Banyana Banyana, who was there to encourage the girls.
“I was 22 when I first travelled overseas for Banyana Banyana and I remember that experience well. It was daunting and a bit frightening, but it opened my eyes to the limitless opportunities that exist in the world. I matured fast and I believe these young 12 year-olds will feel the same.”

Muzuvukile Primary School celebrates lifting the trophy during the 2019 Danone Nations Cup Finals at the Reiger Park, Boksburg on the 14 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The 2018 and 2019 world finals will be held as a double header. “Barcelona is symbolic as it was in this city in 1919 that Isaac Carasso created the first Danone yogurt with the aim of improving one’s health,” said Marlinie Kotiah, General Secretary Danone Southern Africa. “We are combining Danone’s centenary and the 20th edition of the world final in a bumper edition this year. It also coincides with our new brand positioning and purpose, One Planet One Health, which reflects our belief that the health of humankind and that of the planet are interlinked and both need to be protected and nurtured.

“Through the Danone Nations Cup, we are contributing to bringing this vision to life by promoting the importance of exercise. Further, we are encouraging our young athletes to ‘Play Football, Change the Game’, which is a rallying message to unite children, irrespective of their backgrounds and cultures, and to encourage them to become catalysts for positive change,” concluded Kotiah.

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“Football Academies Should Add Financial Education To Their Curriculums”

On Friday the 17th of May I attended the informative Nedbank Finance Football Forum in Durban at ViewsAt25 ahead of the Nedbank Cup Final where TS Galaxy beat Kaizer Chiefs, becoming the first lower division team to win The Nedbank Cup. The panel at this groundbreaking event included football legends Doctor Khumalo, Jerry Sikhosane, Siboniso Gaxa, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Nedbank KeYona graduate and flag-bearer Aubrey Modiba, Bongani Sam as well as Financial Expert, Peter Kgapane and Tobie Badenhorst, Head: Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing.

We have seen a lot of footballers going broke after retirement with nothing to fall back on.
Financial expert, Peter Kgapabe figures it’s because in football retirement comes earlier than in any other profession.

“When the playing days are over, even if the player had savings. They end up being forced to tap in to the their savings accounts to make ends meet,” Kgapane said.

He says the player will use that money until it runs out and then by the time they reach 65 which is the normal retirement age, they no longer have any money left on their accounts.

“Football hasn’t always been a business. Most retired players from the older generation never earned a lot of money and they never even got a chance to play overseas, at least the newer generation has more chances of playing abroad,” he added.

“Wealth can be generational and unfortunately for most South African footballers, they’re the first in their families to accumulate wealth. They haven’t had financial education from a very young age so when the money comes they seek validation by buying expensive cars, clothes or even live in expensive apartments,” Kgapane added.

According to the expert, people who come from wealth lead better lives because they were taught from a very young age how to make and save money. They usually have mentors who teach them about life skills and give them financial education.

“Football academies across the country should add financial education to their curriculums where they teach young football players how to save money. You do not have accidental encounter with money training, someone needs to teach you how to handle your finances from a very young age,” he added.

Kgapane believes it is harder to give financial training to a player who’s already earning a decent salary.

“We stand a better chance at training the younger ones instead of trying to teach someone who’s already making a lot of money. This becomes difficult because they never got used to saving money when they were young and saving may include downgrading their lifestyle,” he concluded.

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Shield Sibonis’ iDiski Takes Centre Stage

Shield Sibonis’ iDiski continues this weekend with trials in Soweto White City Jabavu (76 B Sikhakhane Street), KwaZulu-Natal, Escourt as well as in Northern Cape, Kimberley.

Shield is looking to give three aspiring footballers a chance to train with Chelsea and overall winner will secure a contract with Orlando Pirates Multichoice Diski Challenge team.

Shield Sibonis’ iDiski Head Coach Dumisani Thusi said they’re looking for hard working and dedicated players.
“We are looking for players with technique, someone who can master basics of football, someone who understands formation and has tactical understanding of the game”.

He also added that they are looking for people who have a positive attitude and are well disciplined. “We also want someone who is mentally strong, a player who can perform well under pressure, on and off the field.” Thusi concluded.

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Shield Sibonis’ iDiski 2017 runner up, Alanzo Kuhn says for a player to enter this competition they need to be committed, have the right mindset, have a vision and believe in themselves.
“Players need to go full hearted on this competition and be willing to learn from the coaches and other players,” Kuhn said.

The Mitchels Plain born player says players coming to this competition need to be team players and show leadership skills. He said his principles helped him get far in the competition.
” I have a very strong character, my parents taught me how to be responsible and disciplined on and off the field,” Kuhn added.

He says he hopes to inspire young football players to dream big and work hard in achieving their goals.
“I hope everyone who dreams of being a successful football player will be given a chance to live their dream. I’m currently training with Polokwane City and still in partnership with Shield. I hope to grow not only as a player but also as a person,” concluded Kuhn.

If you think you have what it takes to be part of this great initiative, come through to the trials near you and show the Shield coaches iDiski!

For more information follow @shieldza on Twitter or go straight to Shield SA’s website: https://www.shield.co.za/move-with-shield/move-with-shield/player-updates/find-your-club.html

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Nedbank Aids Flood-hit Durban

Nedbank is challenging KwaZulu-Natal football supporters to #Team4KZN ahead of the sold out Nedbank Cup final between Kaizer Chiefs and TS Galaxy set to take place at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

KZN was hit by floods over the Easter weekend and they left devastating scenes all around the province, destroying homes and various infrastructures. As part of solidifying football’s status as ‘The Beautiful Game’, Nedbank has urged football lovers to show their support by retweeting Nedbank’s #Team4KZN post on Twitter with the bank pledging to contribute R5 towards relief efforts for every retweet of the post. Fans who show their support via retweet also have the added incentive of being entered into a draw for a chance to win tickets and VIP experience at the Nedbank Cup final.

“The 2019 Nedbank Cup final is one of the most anticipated events on the footballing calendar and is set to showcase a true David versus Goliath spectacle of football. Following the weather events in KZN, this match has however become about more than football. We will utilise the Nedbank Cup final to leave a lasting legacy by not only raising awareness for relief efforts ourselves, but also by enabling and galvanizing supporters to lend a hand in the province’s clean-up efforts,” said Head of Group Sponsorship and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, Tobie Badenhorst.

Nedbank and the Nedbank Green Affinity, in partnership with the Wild Trust, have started embarking on cleanup efforts at five beaches in and around the City of Durban. This initiative started on Saturday, 11 May and Sunday 12 May at Mangroves Beach and Durban Harbour respectively, the cleanups continue at the following venues:
• Wednesday, 15 May 2019 (08:00-12:00)
Beach cleanup: Umbogintwini beach (Meet at Amanzimtoti Golf Club)
• Friday, 17 May 2019 (15:00 – 18:00)
Beach cleanup: Durban Main Beachfront (Meet at Marine Lifesaving Club, Addington Beach)
• Saturday, 18 May 2019 (08:00-12:00)
Beach cleanup: Blue Lagoon (Meet at South side of the pier)

Supporters are encouraged to join the cleanups to lend a hand with the first 400 volunteers at each event receiving complimentary tickets to the final, a Nedbank T-shirt and a goodie bag, as a token of appreciation for their participation.

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Shield Aiming To Develop Football Coaches Across The Country

It is rare to see cooperate companies investing in football development. However, Shield has changed the game with their Shield Sibonis’ iDiski campaign. On Wednesday the 17th of April I attended a Shield Roundtable discussion at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto where we tackled issues around football development in the country.

My biggest concern has always been around coaches in the townships and rural areas. They dedicate their lives to mentoring children, not only to be one of the best football players but to be influential citizens in our country. However, it gets hard for them since they do not get paid for what they do, so they end up looking for a full time job thus neglecting their calling of moulding young talent.

I have seen this in my own family, my big brother has been coaching kids in our village for more than 10 years. The kids he has trained have turned out to be well disciplined and respectful adults. He struggled with maintaining his life and ended up looking for a full time job. He still trains them after work but he always complains about being tired and that when you are training children you need to be fully present in the moment. I have raised my concerns about development coaches both on Social Media and at Roundtable.

I’m delighted to share with you that Shield has launched an initiative for development coaches called Coaching The Coach. This aims to groom and train the coaches with the necessary skills they need to develop players. Shield is not just changing young footballers lives but they are aiming to have an impact in football development as a whole.

This year they have 10 regions for trials in which players need to bring their ID’s in order to be scouted. 3 players stand a chance to win a lifetime opportunity to train with Chelsea for a week.

If more big companies would follow suits on what Shield is doing, I am sure that a lot of young people will be interested in turning their passion into a career.

Follow @shield_za for more information on their trials or go their website: https://www.shield.co.za/move-with-shield/move-with-shield/player-updates/find-your-club.html


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Investec Soccer League crowns Dr. Beyers Naude as champions

On 15 September 2018 I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the 10th annual Investec Soccer League final match. What an enthralling encounter it was, after the match Dr. Bayers Naude were crowned champions of this development league which kicked off on 09 May 2018, for their prowess they took a whooping R250 000 prize money.

South African Football legends Brian Baloyi and Stanton ‘Stiga’ Fredericks are both ambassadors of this amazing initiative.

I had a chat with the latter and he shed some light on what it means for him to be part of this initiative.

“Firstly as an ex-professional soccer player I get excited when I hear school sports because that is where everything started for me. I was playing Football at school then later represented my province and that is where I got identified,” said Fredericks.

Speaking on the importance of education, Fredericks added that the amazing thing about this tournament is that schools are identified through Maths and Physics which means this league does not only promote football but academics as well.

Talking about mentorship, Stiga emphasizes that it is important for young children to have a mentor. “It is very important for children to have someone to look up to, who reminds them of what success looks like. Me and Brian Baloyi are that to these upcoming soccer players. We are trying to build confidence in them and thanks to Investec for that opportunity,” he added.

He also encouraged parents to let their children play sports in school. 

“Sports is so beneficial to a young person because it teaches you so much aspects of success. It’s about social elements like how do you make friends, how do you behave in a group, do you take instructions well? Are you disciplined enough to attend trainings? Are you encouraging? So sports is just so massive in a young person’s development.” He concluded.

All in all, the tournament was a success and a lot of young people got the opportunity to showcase their talent. When it comes to sports and academics, I can safely say that the future looks bright for our country.

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