Young Bafana: A success story

| October 2, 2017

On the right path, a story about Yamkela Dyani aka Bazuka…

11th January 2014, it is a blistering hot day in Somerset West as the coaches set up the cones in order to prepare for a pre-season trial session at Young Bafana Soccer Academy. The boys will be rewarded this season by entering the Mitchels Plain Football League. However, in order to compete the coaches have invited a handful of trialists to showcase their skills should they wish to join the academy.

The demand for a position is massive, every boy aged 10-18 from the nearby Lwandle township dreams of becoming a part of Young Bafana. It is an opportunity to get out, play matches and tournaments in Cape Town, and receive kit, jerseys, boots, food and even additional academic support.

However, there are limited positions in the squad as the boys do not pay a cent. The entire operation is self-funded and relies heavily on sponsorship.

Amongst the trialists is a 14 year old boy who goes by the name “Zuka’ short for Bazuka. The established players in the team tell their coaches that he is one of the most talented in the township. Zuka does not disappoint and soon becomes an integral part of the Young Bafana U15 team, that goes on to win the league in their first season. Not having mentioned these boys walked to training 5 days per week and had no boots for the entire year. Only for matches they were given boots to play with.


The Academy realises the potential of some of the players like Zuka however, sadly takes note of the lack of academic support they are receiving from their schools and homes. This is where the brainchild of the Founder is born.

An academic outreach programme, making it compulsory for each beneficiary to participate in extra English, Maths or individualised academic tutoring twice per week before soccer practice. The programme is a success from day one, despite the fact that the boys would rather be on the field, they realise how important a sound academic background is.

Zuka quietly continues doing his thing on the field allowing the ball and his footwork to do the talking. When asked what he wants to become he says “I want to play for Kaizer Chiefs coach”. The coach responds, “continue to work hard, when you are ready we will grant you the opportunity to play for Kaizer Chiefs”. Zuka responds with a mere “yes coach”.

Three years down the line and 4 trophies later July 2017, having played for the selected district side, senior football for Young Bafana’s partner club and scoring a heap of goals the coach decides it is time.

“Zuka are you ready to go for a trial at your favourite club”, “yes coach”. Young Bafana sends out a newsletter requesting funding in order to pay for the trip and off they go, Johannesburg bound. It did not take long, as a matter of fact after one training session coach Arthur was convinced, he wants Zuka to join Kaizer Chiefs!

Zuka is currently staying in the Kaizer Chiefs Village and playing for the Ama-Diski side. This is the reserve team for the professionals. He knows that he has a long way to go to make it to the top. However, with the guidance of his mentor and coach Bernd Steinhage as well as the team of experts at Chiefs, surely it is just a matter of time before we see him as a regular in the PSL?

Yours in changing lives,

Young Bafana Soccer Academy


Category: News

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