The action will happen at the TUKS High Performance Centre on 1 and 2 October with the finals to be staged at the newly renovated Orlando stadium in Soweto on Sunday, 3 October. This will be the first time in its 10-year history that the tournament will take place outside of France.
Also coming to witness these youngsters in action will be the three-time FIFA world player of the year, Zinedine Zidane who is the global ambassador of the Danone Nations Cup. The retired French footballer was in South Africa recently and met up with the South African team from Sinenzuzo Primary that will be representing the country in the 40 nation tournament. He made a huge impression on the youngsters, one being 11-year-old Sanele Mkhize who said that this experience was a dream come true.
“I couldn’t believe it, I have always seen him on TV, but after seeing him today I’m very happy,” says Sanele who captained the Sinenzuzo Primary School team to victory in the Danone Nations Cup South African national finals held in May. The Sinenzuzo Primary School team hails from the impoverished Hammansdale township in KwaZulu-Natal and has proved that there is more to football than million-dollar deals.
“Sometimes we had to go without some of our players because of financial problems; but we are here because we worked really hard,” says Sanele. “He [Zidane] told us he started playing in the streets as well, so we have something in common.”
Sanele has been playing soccer since the tender age of four, although he wasn’t really interested in the sport at first. He had seen players doing back-flips after scoring goals, and decided to start playing – just so that he could do the same. His uncle nurtured his talent and showed him a couple of tricks, having some skills of his own. He has taught him everything he knows about soccer, encouraging and inspiring him all the way. He has also taken out his own time and money to harness Sanele’s potential by contacting scouts and soccer development institutions in Johannesburg. He believes that he is very talented and sees this is a way for him to succeed.
“My uncle used to be a football player but did not take it further due to an injury,” Sanele says. “Not only does he help with soccer but my uncle also tries to teach me other things related to life, school and even computers! He does all he can to give me the ability to pursue a better life.”
Sanele loves South African soccer and his role model is Teko Modise. “I look up to him a lot” he added. Sanele may very well be the next Teko Modise and with his passion for the game, determination and an uncle who motivates and believes in him the possibilities of achieving his dream could well become a reality.
Sanele’s team representing South Africa at the 2010 Danone Nations Cup World Finals consists of: Sanele Mkhize (midfielder); Ntando Nxumalo (midfielder); Lizwilenkosi Nala (defender); Njabulo Gumede (goalkeeper); Phindokuhle Shange (defender); Khayelihle Dladla (striker); Nkosikhona Gabela (midfielder); Nkosingiphile Mkhize(striker); Sihle Mabhadi (midfielder); Thabiso Selepe (defender); Khethukuthula Ngcobo (defender).
Three lucky readers stand a chance to win themselves prizes courtesy of SPORTS FOCUS & DANONE by simply answering these easy question:
Which stadium will DANONE NATIONS WORLD CUP FINALS takes place?
Answers to be emailed to email@example.com and the winners will be announced at the end of September 2010 via telephone.
Bafana Bafana jersey signed by Zidane
Two VIP tickets to watch the finals on the 03 October 2010
DANONE hamper worth R500.00