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Vukile Mlanjana gets a kick out of helping aspiring sports stars

Vukile Mlanjana, 43, is devoted to keeping youngsters out of the streets by ensuring that they participate in local sports activities.
Vukile Mlanjana, 43, is devoted to keeping youngsters out of the streets by ensuring that they participate in local sports activities.

Vukile Mlanjana, 43, is devoted to keeping youngsters off the streets by ensuring that they participate in sports activities.

Mlanjana is a community developer and chair of the Gompo Local Football Association, helping children between 11 and 20 years old to engage in sport.

He also assists those from underprivileged families with food parcels.

“We all have different economic backgrounds,” he said.

“Those children need assistance to ensure that they don’t miss practices and are fit enough to play.”

The programme, for boys and girls, was established in 2012.

Its headquarters are in Amalinda, but it incorporates players from Duncan Village, Braelyn, Cambridge location and the Nompumelelo informal settlement.

Mlanjana started the programme when he noticed children playing on the streets and sometimes on busy roads where they could be run over.

“I was driving in Beacon Bay one day when I noticed young boys running around near the busy Nompumelelo entrance and realised I had to do something.”

Mlanjana decided to offer unemployed community members who were interested in coaching soccer to take a course.

He has 10 coaches who are deployed at various schools including Lumko High School, Alphendale High, Greenpoint High and Duncan Village Primary. The Walter Sisulu University women’s team also has a coach.

The coaches receive a stipend from the schools to cover transport.

Agcobile Bungu, 30, Philasande Matshaya, 31, Sibusiso Diyo, 30, Lungisa Lusithi, 42, Madodandile Kulwa, 35, and Bulumko Kapu, 39, are among those who have benefited from the training.

Mlanjana is a project manager at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Nevada is one of the football association’s sponsors and has donated kit for all the soccer and netball teams.

The Liquor Board came on board after the Enyobeni tragedy to educate the dangers of alcohol use and Jeff’s Driving School is offering free lessons to eligible children.

Mlanjana said: “This is to ensure that the unemployed youth have better chances of employment.”

The AmaZulu Football Club in KwaZulu-Natal has also held trials for for some of the children, but none of them have made it into the team yet.

Mlanjana said: “We have many children in our club, but we are not able to assist all of them.

“We recently asked for sponsorship from Blue Ribbon bakery and we are hoping it will be willing to help with bread to ensure that every player gets food before a soccer or netball match.

Zanecebo Ndinisa, 34, who nominated Mlanjana as a local hero, said: “Vukile has made a huge contribution in developing the Gompo community.

“He ensures that every three months there are soccer tournaments for the children, so during school holidays children always have something to look forward to.”

Mlanjeni also hosts awards to encourage and motive youngsters to take part in sport.

He said it made him happy when the children he had assisted went to thank him when they were employed.

The positive feedback encouraged him to do more for the community, he said.



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