Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Youngster from KZN about to embark on a football journey of a lifetime!

In the years to come, there’s no doubt that Ludwe Mtsholo will look back on 2014 as a very significant year in his life.

The 12 year-old has already had mixed feelings about it. He is sad that he narrowly missed out on an opportunity to attend a private school on a scholarship, but he is excited at the prospect of going on his first overseas trip, to do what he really loves doing there, in what he believes is the greatest soccer nation in the world – Brazil.

Ludwe’s school, Siphumele Primary School of Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal, is the 2014 Danone Nations Cup champion, and that has won the school the right to represent the country at the World Finals in Sao Paulo from 14th to the 16th November.

It’s going to be an experience of a lifetime, Ludwe said, and it has made up for the disappointment of not being chosen to attend one of the Allan Gray Foundation placement schools after being chosen to write the placement exams.

Going to Brazil is a dream come true and Ludwe intends making the most of it. “My team mates and I talk about Brazil all the time,” he said. “We talk about what we want to see in Brazil, and how we are going to play when we get there. I know we are going there to play in a tournament but at the same time I want to have fun, meet people from different cultures and learn how to say basic words in different languages.”

It’s going to be a far cry from Emangweni in Inanda where Ludwe lives with his parents, brother and sister. His mother is unemployed, having left her job when his six month old sister was born, and his father is a part-time security guard, so the family struggles financially. “But my parents support me in everything I do, particularly my mother,” Ludwe said. “She is always there for me when I get back from school and we chat a lot. She encourages me to do well at and to look at the world as one of many opportunities. She believes that winning the trip to Brazil will help me broaden my mind and learn that there is a whole world out there filled with opportunities.”

Ludwe’s brother, Maneliso, is 16 years old and he has been the soccer inspiration in Ludwe’s life. He introduced him to the game when he was 8. “I used to watch his games at the local Inanda All Stars club and I eventually also joined the club. The coach there said I had natural ability and he has helped me a lot with my game.”

It was his mother who bought him his first pair of soccer boots. “She knew I was happiest playing soccer, so she bought me boots and a ball, even though it wasn’t easy.” he said.

Ludwe describes himself as an introvert. When he is not playing soccer he prefers staying at home reading. He loves school and is a straight A grade student, excelling at English and Maths.

At the moment his focus is on preparing to play in Brazil. “I have been practicing with my brother, I know I have to score more goals, so we are practicing shooting and aiming,” he said.

One of the highlight this year has been meeting Neil Tovey, the competition’s ambassador. “He is a legend and inspiration. He was a great player and very consistent in his game and I was excited to meet him.”

Although Brazil didn’t do too well at the 2014 World Cup, Ludwe still believes they are the best football playing country in the world. “I am excited to see their youth team play. Our coach wants us to remain focused and not be nervous playing against any of the other countries. You hear the names Germany, Brazil, Spain, Italy and you immediately think of them as leading football nations, but we are all still young and we are all at the same level so we must not be intimidated.”

The introverted kid from Emangweni is going to the home of world football and he is going to meet people his age from all over the world. It’s going to be a life-changing experience and 2014 will be a milestone year in his young life.

Getting to know Ludwe Mtsholo:
Favourite music – kwaito
Favourite subjects at school- Maths and English
Best friend - my mother. I chill with her after school. We talk a lot about life, school work and soccer
Favourite soccer player - lou Segolela of Orlando Pirates
Favourite SA team - Orlando Pirates
Favourite overseas team – Barcelona
Hobbies - reading novels
What are you currently reading - a book called Children of the Wolves. It's about 2 children that were raised by wolves
Favourite actor- Menzi Ngubane, from Generations
What would you like to do after school - I would like to play soccer professionally, and qualify to be an electrician
Favourite Danone products - Nutriday and Yogisip
Message to Danone – thank you for sponsoring the tournament! If it had it not been for you I would have never got an opportunity to travel to Brazil. Now I can come back and share my adventure with my family
Message to your school friends and team mates - we should go there and have fun and play like we have been playing. We will be nervous but we must try to enjoy the experience.

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