Purpose is to polish rough diamonds at Young StarsThomas Kwenaite
Article written by Andile and Mandla Dladla
Young Stars Academy is a community based football team specifically established for young boys and girls based in Lenasia South extension 4.
The team accommodates children from the ages of eight to 16 years and is run by coach Peter Malane who is deeply passionate about giving young boys and girls that are equally passionate about football the chance to learn and grow in the sport.
“I was working for an Academy where players came from different provinces across the country and had to pay certain amounts every month,” said Malane. “I then realized that for the local boys who kept requesting to join us but could not afford that the fees charged, there was something that I could do to assist them.
It is a known fact that South Africa is a country where the gap between rich and poor is vast and with most of the young girls raised by poor parents which put them at a disadvantage, he simply knew that he couldn’t stand by while there was a need to be fulfilled.
However, while he has fully volunteered to guide these aspiring youngsters in their chosen career path, he is also aware that he would need support from both the parents of the kids as well as from corporates to keep going.
“We are appealing to anyone for assistance with what they can. It’s always good getting sponsors because we are able to transport the children to matches and provide them with food as well.
“The parents do come through for us but I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them because households are not the same so that’s important to understand, and build good relationships with them so you get to know about them.
“There are many challenges that we face but the one that is heart-breaking is when you begin to develop a boy from a very young age and work with him for years. You realize that the boy is ready to step up to the next level but then other coaches come and poach the player for gambling games and not knowing that they are destroying the player.
“As a coach I watch a lot of football especially the DStv Premiership which has been described as the most commercially successful in Africa and it makes me proud to be South African.”
His favourite team is Cape Town City FC and he believes that some people commit the cardinal sin of taking “The Citizens” lightly but one has to look at the players that they produce every year to accept that City is miles apart from many teams.
“We are a young team but players like Thabo Nodada have been competing at the highest level and that proves that the Citizens are here to stay.
“At Young Stars Academy we have players like Tlotliso “Neymar” Setlae, Calvin “Van Dijk” Tshabalala and Mzwakhe Hlongwane who all are the nucleas of the Academy and driven by a desire to win and succeed.
Malane has a dream to build a village where they will have playing facilities, gymnasium, training grounds, medical centre, swimming pool, cafeteria and sleeping accommodation for the players.
He has no doubt that if they can establish their own Centre of Excellence, they would be able to produce players capable of playing either in the local PSL or in other leagues across the world.