Thursday, August 25, 2016
Young soccer star is preparing mentally for the enormity of playing soccer in Paris which will be the venue for the Danone Nations Cup World Finals.
For young soccer star, Kaivan Mahangwahaya, the biggest adjustment in his preparations for the under-12 Danone Nations Cup world finals in France, in October, is going to be getting his mind around the fact that he is going from a small rural village in Limpopo to the bigger and faster pace of Paris.
Kaivan felt the pace of Joburg was a bit daunting when he travelled to the metropolitan city to compete in the national finals a few months ago, but it is now a completely different ball game. It’s going to be hectic, Kaivan admitted, but he is looking forward to it, and the team is hard at work preparing for what is going to be the adventure of a lifetime.
Kaivan was born, and has spent his entire youth to date in the small village of Tshiozi, outside Louis Trichardt in Limpopo.
He was a pupil at Maguluvhe Primary School, close to Benny’s Sports Academy, when he was approached by scouts from Benny’s and invited to join the school in 2015 as a boarder.
His brother, Ivan Mahangwahaya, also attended Benny’s and is now a professional player at Black Leopards which competes in the National First Division.
Ivan, who is a 27 year old midfielder, is his role model and hero. Their mother, Emely, is unemployed and so Ivan supports them and pays Kaivan’s school fees. He visits them once a month and it’s something Kaivan looks forward to very much.
Being at Benny’s has changed the life of the youngster. “I love being at a soccer school as well as living in the hostel where I can play with my friends after school and we help each other with our homework.”
The national finals were not easy, Kaivan said, and it became more difficult when their captain, Dakalo Mokweng, was injured and was taken off. “Our goalie, Hulisani Mashau, was made captain in his place and he was a good motivator and also saved many goals. What a learnt from this experience was not to get flustered as things change and you need to make the most of the new situation and go out there and make things happen for your team.”
The toughest game in the national finals was against the Eastern Cape team, Barkerville he said. “Their defence was very strong and I could not break through the back line and score.”
As the team’s striker, Kaivan feels he needs to get mentally prepared for France. “It’s going to be fast-paced and there are 32 teams so there will be plenty of people around and most will not even speak English. Before going to Joburg I didn’t even know what traffic was and I believe that Paris is even bigger and I need to ensure that this doesn’t interfere with my concentration,” he admits, “but our coach, Mbishi Mokwena is helping us prepare in all respects. He is caring and motivational. We are watching video’s of previous world final games as well as of Paris so that we know what to expect.”
Kaivan realises the importance of getting an education and when he finishes school he wants to become a lawyer. He believes that many people that are incarcerated are innocent and he wants to stand up for these people. “I enjoy watching law movies and I think this is my calling. Coming from a rural area I appreciate the opportunity that Danone is giving us of going to France as I will have to come out of my comfort zone which is important and teaches lateral thinking, which is necessary for law and life in general.”