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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs