It all started in January 2014, when Young Bafana decided to develop the first of three performance teams. Trial training sessions were organized to screen talented players from Lwandle Township. Becoming a part of Young Bafana offers a rare opportunity for many children and adolescents to cross the boundaries of the township to be promoted as an athlete. This enables them to participate in games and tournaments in Cape Town.
One of the applicants, a small, rather slender boy, seemed to stand out from the start. The boy, who went by the name of "Zuka" (short form of the weapon Bazuka) immediately caught the eye of the coaches. Zuka has always been seen as a player who does not speak much or put himself in the foreground. He often seems absorbed in his own thoughts, often isolated but never unpopular in the team. While other players are focused on their free time right after training, Zuka is still focused on football and thoughtful about his performance.
Though Zuka has a great love for the game of football, his commitment does not only stem from his desire to become a professional footballer. To move beyond the circumstances of his life in the township will afford his family some relief from the incredible financial strain they are under. When asked what he would want to achieve next, Zuka confidently exclaimed: "I want to play for the Kaizer Chiefs *, Coach."
* The Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa is the equivalent to Bayern Munich in Germany.
After hearing this, Young Bafana founder Bernd Steinhage waited for the right time and contacted the management of Kaizer Chiefs to arrange a trial session for Zuka. After some fundraising to cover the costs of the trip, Bernd and Zuka set off to Johannessburg to follow Zuka’s dream. The head coach of the Kaizer Chiefs’ U-23 team was immediately impressed and expressed his interest after the first trial. The promise of a place in the team was not long in coming. Zuka played for the "Diski" team of the Kaizer Chiefs, meaning the reserve team, which provides or “feeds” the first team with fresh talents. The public interest in the Diski League has grown so much in South Africa that the prime time games get screened on national television.
In August 2018, Zuka began a new chapter in his journey. Together with his mentor, Bernd Steinhage, he has decided to accept a 2 year professional contract with a South African second division club, Ubuntu Cape Town FC. The move has facilitated many advantages but the best thing about it is, that was living closer to his family again. The fact that Zuka has the number 13 on his back, is testament to his hard work and irrepressible beliefs. He has come from a small township and has already achieved something remarkable. It’s a journey that Young Bafana as a training club and the residents of the Lwandle Township are very proud of.
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