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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs