Santos Football Club’s Tyrese Davids, 13, is gearing up to represent the country at two international tournaments in April.
The former Sunlands Primary School pupil is in the squad which was selected at football trials held by the SA Schools Football Association (Sasfa) Cape Town, in Athlone, in October, last year.
They will play in the Dubai Super Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Manchester Cup in the United Kingdom. The two tournaments provide a platform for teams from around the world to perform in front of scouts, including representatives from the English Premier League, all looking to find the future stars of the game.
Tyrese, who started Grade 8 at Mondale High School in Mitchell’s Plain, was selected after his former primary school coach, Desmond Jacobs, recommended him for trials, following a successful under-13 season for the school.
He was awarded the Player of The Year, last year, and in 2018, he was crowned the Most Valuable Player at the primary school in Kenwyn.
For the versatile midfielder, from Woodlands, in Mitchell’s Plain, to play in the tournaments, he needs to raise R48 000 for accommodation and travels.
His family have approached local businesses for assistance and the community are also helping out to reach the target.
They are currently half way to their goal and still have two months to go. Tyrese said he started his football journey when he was four years old, at Juventus Football Club, in Lentegeur. He then moved to Santos, in Lansdowne, where he currently plays as a right-back, winger and central midfielder.
He said when he received the news that he was chosen to play in the two international youth cups, he was excited, especially to be in the same city as his icon, France’s World Cup winner and Manchester United player, Paul Pogba.
Tyrese believes he can use football to motivate other youngsters in his community.
“Football has inspired me to open my mindset. It can also open the mindset of other youngsters in Mitchell’s Plain. It’s an opportunity to inspire other youngsters to stay away from drugs,” he said,
Tyrese said he enjoys playing as a box-to-box midfielder because it requires control over the field against his opponents.
“Playing football is a very good step. There are many opportunities and the progress has been really good. In the midfield I can control the game. I see where the opponent is and when they make mistakes I can see where I can improve on my shots.
“When our coach at Sunlands took us to trials in Athlone, in October, I was ready because I was fit. When I got the news that I was selected, I was excited. I’m a little bit nervous but I feel really happy that I got this opportunity to go to my favourite club’s city. I support Manchester United. I like Paul Pogba. I like how he controls the midfield,” said Tyrese.
His mother, Jacqueline Davids, said she was overwhelmed with excitement when they received the news that Tyrese had made the squad.
“It was on a rainy day when we received the news. We are struggling but we are hopeful we will make ends meet. I’m busy making rooties right now so I can deliver them to people. There are donations and sponsors. But sometimes people can’t actually buy because it’s January, this time of the year is a little difficult,” she said.
Tyrese’s dad, Bradley Davids, said this is an opportunity for his son to showcase his talent in front of the world’s best.
“We were very excited. For a 13 year old to go and play abroad is something you see on TV. It will open his mind to a better experience. He shouldn’t stop dreaming, he will be playing against other cultures and countries, he can build from there,” he said.
Davids said they have hosted karaokes, food stalls and sold biscuits to raise funds for Tyrese.
“At the moment, it’s very good. We are halfway with the funds raised and there is still more to go. We are going strong,” he said.
Davids said the support from his siblings, family and community is priceless.
“He must stay disciplined and respectful. It is very important to stay humble. For me, you can be how good, but you must be disciplined. It is not just for the 90 minutes when you are on the field, but discipline continues outside of the field,” he said.
Davids said this opportunity is a stepping stone in the right direction for his son.
“For what he is doing, it can show other children there is a better life through sport. Respect and hard work opens doors in school and at work. Even if the world crumbles, if you focus on what you do, just go, you will succeed,” said Davids.
To support Tyrese on his journey to the Dubai Super Cup and Manchester Cup in April, contact his father, Bradley on 084 254 8454.