Maxwell Nkosinathi Somazembe, school driver, parent liaison, school fee officer and mentor to the boys at African Angels, has established the African Angels United Football Club to, “keep the young boys in Chintsa East from getting into mischief – busy boys don’t have time for crime and drugs.”
All of the boys in this under 16 team are from the informal settlements around Chintsa East and most of the players are educated at African Angels Independent School, but not all. As coach of the team and a trained mentor, Maxwell wants to be part of their journey into adulthood, teaching them good morals and how to become good men.
He has identified his squad of 19 boys and is now in the process of registering the team for the Gompo Local Football Association league in East London. He is finding that the requirements to play league soccer are quite strict and seriously challenging for his underprivileged team members. Each team member needs to be dressed in matching soccer kit and has to wear soccer boots. Many of the parents of children in the township do not have the excess funds to buy these ‘luxuries’. In addition, the team needs to have transport to and from fixtures, food and drink, safety equipment including goal keeping gloves and a first aid kit, soccer balls, whistles and corner flags – and that’s just to allow them to play in matches. They also need to practice which would be enhanced by practice balls, cones, pop up nets, training bibs and formal training for their coach.
Maxwell is, however, not daunted, “I believe that by bringing sport and a training discipline into the lives of these young, impressionable boys, I can give them the skills they need to become better, more productive, young men.” Maxwell gives his time voluntarily outside of school hours and on weekends, to help the boys of Chintsa grow into better men, as part of African Angels United.
We will be applying to the Sport and Recreation Distributing Agency (SRDA) for financial support for African Angels United, but would welcome team donations of kit, and equipment for the boys.