After dealing with boys from settlements in Hondeydew and Cosmo City in Johannesburg who were involved in crime, Olebogeng Ntaolang, a Police Constable NW of Johanneburg started a community football team in 2005.
“I was called to a school in the Honeydrew area. The teacher had complained that three pupils had bunked school and had gone to rob people of their money on the streets.
“I decided to take action after I found that I was arresting more and more youngsters in Cosmo City and surrounding areas and was asking myself why this was happening,” he said.
After three days 160 eager children arrived at his soccer school. Besides the training Ntaolang tries to install values in the players and motivate them.
“The kids are taught about discipline, commitment and respect, qualities that will get these gentlemen far in life,” he said.
Through the Nikos Haven Project in South Africa, Wolverhampton based Strip Amnesty the official Wolverhampton Wanderers photographers met up with Mr Ntaolang at Nooitgedacht Primary School north of Johannesburg and donated 50 Wolves shirts to the boys.
A day before the opening ceremony and the first game we took a 20 minute drive out of Randburg to a small community school where we met some wonderful people doing charity work and giving youngsters the chance to play football.
As true as I am here writing this, one of the guys was called Trevor. Trevor asked WHY we were giving Wolves shirts out…. I replied that we were the official photographers of WWFC and that we were donating them on behalf of the club – he then asked again WHY Wolves?
It transpired that Trevor was a fan of WBA! You could have not made it up!
These boy had NOTHING in their lives. We had about 50 shirts and there were 53 boys. One boy had no shoes, no football boots and only one pair of shorts but he was as happy as anything. It did not trouble him that he was one of the unfortunate ones not to receive a shirt.
One or two of these young boys were amazing at football. Perhaps they may be scouted one day and have the chance to take the world stage.
It was a pleasure to work on behalf of Wolverhampton Wanderers and provide the youngsters with the shirts.
The beginning of the day saw me wake up at 5am for the final airport pick up and at 8 all the photographers in our group – 16 of them – went to a Carnivore restaurant.
We ate Zebra, Crocodile, Beef, Giraffe amongst other animals of the jungle. Giraffe was not very nice but the Zebra was OK. Antelope was the most appetising which was washed down with lots of red wine (apart from those driving).
Another 6 hour sleep before tomorrow – the first game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup!
I can’t believe it is here. It does not seem 5 minutes since we were all in Berlin in 2006.