Khanyi Ndabeni HERALD REPORTER
EVEN the shocking condition of his school’s multipurpose sports field
can’t stop Mabongwandile Betele from his dream of becoming a soccer
star one day.
Betele, 18, a grade 11 pupil at Loyiso High School in Zwide, is one of the school’s most promising sports stars.
- Children struggle to play a game of cricket at Sipo Hashe Comprehensive
He practices twice a week with his team mates on the school’s only field
– a rocky piece of land that cannot be properly maintained because the
school doesn’t have enough money.
During practice, the soccer team often has to share the field with
the rugby team. The field is also used for cricket and volleyball.
But although it’s not much, its more than many other schools in the
area have. Neighbouring schools including Sakhisizwe, Lwazilwethu and
Phakamisa high schools – which have no sports field at all – often ask
if they can use the field for their pupils too.
Although the school has a lawn mower, they cannot really use it
because of the field’s rocky terrain. In rainy weather it is slippery
and becomes dangerous for the players.
“Soccer is my life,” says Betele, who was selected by Bay United to
be part of the team which played in Qunu during the celebration of
Nelson Mandela’s birthday last year.
“Even though our sport field is in a bad condition, I still believe I
can make it as a soccer star. (Former Springbok rugby player) Solly
Tyibilika used to practice on this field,” said Betele.
But he said players often got injured on the field because of its bad condition.
“I wish the grass was leveled so that we could play at ease”, he said.
Betele has won numerous soccer trophies and said he looked up to
Nelson Mandela Bay soccer star Elrio van Heerden, who now plays as a
midfielder for Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.
“One of the things I have in common with him is that he also practised on a field like this one.”
Loyiso High School head of sports, Mpumelelo Moyakhe, said the field
was used for most sport codes including rugby, soccer, cricket and
“We still need top soil to put on the field so that the grass will
grow in all the places. We also need water sprinklers. The school has a
grass cutting machine and is still trying raise money to buy other
things needed to maintain the field,” said Moyakhe.