Chasing a barren dream in Jozi

Coach Mthobisi Ngubani

Sixteen aspiring footballers left KwaZulu-Natal and headed to Mpumalanga and finally landed in Gauteng.

They embarked on this unfortunate trip going through three provinces chasing their dream of one day becoming professional football stars.

Despite their gallant efforts, their dream remained barren and they are now stranded in Glenridge after they were misled to join a bogus football academy in Mpumalanga.

These young boys are between 18-20 years of age. Led by their coach Mthobisi Ngubani (27), they ended up knocking at the door of the renowned development football coach Xolani Sithole’s house in Dobsonville to seek help.

“I was surprised when neighbours phone and inform me about the footballer’s predicament. I told their coach that getting a school for the boys is of paramount importance.

“Fortunately, their coach listened to my advice and got the school for the 16 boys at Meadowlands High School. Later they got temporarily accommodation at Dobsonville,” explained coach Sithole.

Coach Ngubani said they were surprised to discover that the soccer academy in Mpumalanga was non-existing, neither do they have any facilities for training or running a professional academy.

They only managed to stay in Mpumalanga between January and February before they were kicked out of the house they were renting in Mpumalanga.

Instead of returning back home, they decided to continue chasing their dream of becoming football stars and headed to Gauteng. He said some of the boys know about coach Sithole’s career and that he is the person who discovered the late Bucs goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa.

That is why they ended up at his house in Dobsonville to seek help. They are now renting a house in Glenridge, Soweto. Despite great work done to stabilise the sinking ship, there are still issues of concern which continue to overshadow good work they already done.

Footballers are not attending school on a regular basis and finance for transportation is the main impediment in this regard. For each of the footballer to go to school, he must pay a maximum of R80 per day for transportation to school and back home, excluding cash for food at school.

For transportation per week to school, each player must pay a maximum of R400 excluding R100 per week for food at school. In total, each player must be given R500 per week for him to get to school or R2000 per month.

“Despite the fact that parents of the boys are paying R1200 monthly subscription fee, it is not enough to cover their additional requirements.

With the money we get monthly, we suppose to purchase food, pay rent of R5000 per month and buy other additional necessities to keep the house running without interruption,” explained coach Ngubani.

Coach Ngubani said his greatest wish is that coach Sithole could work with him to make the dream of 16 footballers possible. However, coach Sithole stated that for him to enter into any working relationship with Ngubani, there should be terms and condition put in place first.

“My self together with coach Ngubani must go to the parents of the 16 boys’ houses in Kwa Zulu Natal by the end of this month. He should reveal the truth to them.

“If all parties involved agreed, we can map the way forward because at this moment, there is a lot that needs to be done,” concluded coach Sithole.

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