A Manenberg man has started a soccer club to inspire young athletes and also show them the importance of social responsibility and academics.
Magadien Wentzel launched the Young Tornado Warriors as there were no clubs in vicinity, and with limited extramural options, boys were under threat of being recruited into gangs.
“People see Manenberg as a hostile community. It is divided into parts, and in this part the youngsters are trying to do something different. Sport, in itself, can make a difference, and with our community soccer club, we will integrate the sport, academics and life skills. We not only want to produce the next soccer stars, but the next responsible soccer stars,” Mr Wentzel said.
Friedl Gertse, of Kuils River, was curious about Mr Wentzel’s community work and contacted him on social media. He is now Mr Wentzel’s team partner and helps to come up with business ideas to keep the club going.
“I love to help and empower people and the youth is close to my heart. I am in the educational field as well. So many young people cannot afford to study after completing their matric, so I am already in talks with colleges to try and source opportunities.”
So far the club has 53 members, aged 8 to 21.
Mr Wentzel said the team members were so committed that they sometimes knocked on his door for a ball to play with, at 7pm.
With Mr Gertse’s help, the club started a small tuck shop and all proceeds are used to finance the club. The team is also encouraged to clean litter from their roads and the park. For every half bag of litter they collect, they are rewarded with chips and lollipops. They practise three times a week, and have already played friendly matches with teams from Kraaifontein and Hout Bay.
One of the teammates, Nazier van Schalkwyk, 15, said he joined because he wanted to be part of a soccer team, and the bonus for him was that all his friends belonged to Young Tornado Warriors.
Ameer Cairns, 12, and Chad Jaftha, 15, are also happy that they can play for a team near their homes.
“The boys are very talented. All we want to do is to restore their belief that they can do anything they set their minds to, no matter how difficult life is. We don’t want to reap the benefits – they must,” Mr Wentzel said.
Most of the people living in their pocket of the community relied on social grants, he said.
He appealed for any assistance, including balls, the printing and copying of indemnity forms, among others.
Mr Wentzel can be contacted on 065 596 8372 or email Mr Gertse at email@example.com