News / Africa

S. African School is Home to Future Football Stars

S. African School is Home to Future Football Starsi
X
January 18, 2013 6:23 PM
In the sport of football (soccer), South Africa is in the spotlight as it prepares to host the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament this weekend. The Tan Academy is capitalizing on the popularity of the sport in Johannesburg by scouting and training young football talent. But it also provides the young athletes with a top-rate education, regardless of their social background. Emilie IOB reports for VOA from Johannesburg.
In the sport of football (soccer), South Africa is in the spotlight as it prepares to host the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament this weekend. The Tan Academy is capitalizing on the popularity of the sport in Johannesburg by scouting and training young football talent. But it also provides the young athletes with a top-rate education, regardless of their social background.
 
In a quiet and serious classroom in the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg are what may be the future of South African football. Like Nhlanhla Nkosi, several of the students are part of a top-class football academy called Diambars, which is located at the school. The philosophy of Diambars is to use football as a driving force to education, says Djelloul Habchi, a former professional football player from France, who co-founded the academy.
 
"We decided to give back to Africa and to try to promote education, and one of the ways to do it was to establish academies," Habchi explains. "We know that all of them won't be able to become professional football players. The rest need to have alternative careers."

The Diambars academy was created in Senegal 10 years ago and moved to South Africa in 2010.

Today, there are 50 students, between the ages of 13 and 15, enrolled for five years of training in South Africa. Most of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds and were chosen for their football talents.

They board at the school and only go home during the weekend. Nhlanhla, 14, has been playing football since he was seven. He has been raised by his single father, who had no idea his son was so gifted. When the academy staff told him his son had been accepted, it came as a surprise.
 
 "I myself was like 'wow.' I never thought he can do it," he recalls. "I know he can [be] a substitution goalkeeper. He could play rugby at school.  He could play cricket. But in terms of being a right-back [footballer], I never thought he could do that and I was really, really surprised."

Nhlanhla has been at Diambars academy for one year and still has four more to go. He says he already feels he has changed for the better, because of the hard work and the discipline the academy requires. If a child does not pass at school, they are expelled from the academy.
 
"The year I came to Diambars, it was very hard for me to adapt, so I got into a lot of trouble with the teachers," Nhlanhla admits. "So I decided to change and the boarding masters are very hard.  Sometimes, if you come late for supper, you just don't get any food or you just get punishment and you get your food.  But, it's nice because you learn, you learn a lot from it, and when you come back home, you can actually see that you know what, I've actually changed."

In just three years, the Diambars academy has built a strong reputation in South Africa. Last year, the academy won the prestigious Premier League tournament in South Africa in every division they entered.

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid