Soccer – We Are Young Bafana: At the game

Soccer – We Are Young Bafana: At the game

We are Young Bafana

Chapter 17

Simba and the Langa Strikers

Simba stared out the window as the plane touched down in Johannesburg. This had been his first flight in an airplane; in fact, it was the first time he had been more than 50km from his hometown of Lwandle. The butterflies in his stomach fluttered with anticipation and excitement. Simba was on his way to his two week trial for the diski team of the Langa Strikers.

Since first hearing that he had obtained the opportunity to trial for the team, Simba had discovered how much went into his making his way to Pretoria. As he found himself in the middle of his matric year, he had to get permission to miss two weeks of important schooling. Promising to continue his studying in the evening, his school had allowed him to take the time off. Some of his teachers had even offered to be available in the evenings should he need any tutoring.


The next hurdle was to be the finances needed to make the trip. With a relatively short time frame in which to fundraise, Young Bafana Soccer Academy had pulled out all the stops in order to cover the costs of Simba’s trip. When his teammates arrived at the airport to see him off, Thabo had proudly handed over an envelope. The boys had gathered together what little money they could spare to help him as he took this first step in realizing his goal of becoming a professional soccer player.

The next two weeks passed by in a blur. Before he knew it, Simba’s two weeks were up and all that remained were the memories and lessons he had learned. Being one of the youngest players trialing, it was obvious that he did not have the physique of some of the other men. Ultimately he would have to become physically stronger in order to deal with the more physical play which would occur in the professional sphere.

Technically, Simba shone above the others. His style of soccer made him a favourite amongst the scouts and coaches. He was able to take direction and was an easily coachable player. Unfortunately, his youth and inexperience counted against him. Not getting an offer to become part of the team was hard for Simba, however, he knew he must take lessons from the experience to use in his pursuit of his future career.


On his flight home to Cape Town, Simba reflected on the last two weeks. He knew that he would have to spend some time working on his shortcomings. It would be foolish not to use what had been highlighted to fuel his attempts at becoming the best soccer player he could be. He had a great talent and the coaches had all reassured him that if he continued to train hard and work on his game, he would certainly get another chance at a diski team.

Arriving home, Simba felt like a champion, even though he had not made the cut. He was well on his way to achieving his goal and every experience on that path led him closer and closer to a life he had only ever dreamt about

We are Young Bafana is a collaborative project between and the Young Bafana Soccer Academy. This is a fictional story loosely based on real-life events and experiences of the community of Lwandle, a township in the Somerset West area in the Western Cape.  

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