On Thursday 14 July, Mamelodi Sundowns celebrated International Nelson Mandela Day with the community of Rustenburg after their morning training session at Royal Marang. Masandawana hosted a football coaching clinic for over 200 kids from the Rustenburg local football association and the local community development initiative to celebrate Madiba’s life and legacy. Club Chairman Tlhopie Motsepe was pleased to be able to to celebrate the day with the local children:
“It’s been a very special day, we are here at the Royal Marang hotel [and] we were lucky enough to have a very special Nelson Mandela inspired event. We took the children of the community of Rustenburg to come and join us to have a wonderful clinic where our players and coaches from our academy came together to really give back in our own special way.”
“The theme of this Mandela Day in 2022 is: To do what you can, with what you have, where you are. We wanted to be in the community, we wanted to give our time and do what we can – which is to share the gift of sport with these wonderful children and it’s really been so special and amazing. I never knew that some of our players can make such great coaches. It’s really been a special day, the Sundowns players have been able to show another side of themselves, a side where they wanted to give back and I was really inspired. I’m sure all the kids will go back home feeling like they are appreciated and that they see the value in themselves that we at Mamelodi Sundowns see in them.”
The children were invited to observe The Champions training session in the early hours of the morning as part of the initiative, followed by a coaching clinic with their favorite stars and a prize giving ceremony. The Brazilians conducted soccer drills and assumed the role of coaching the kids for the day as they competed against one another in small sided games.
“It’s very important for them because they always see us on tv, they’ve never come close to us and I think it was an honor for them to be with us here. It was very important even if we had a hectic session in the morning. I think it was one way of saying thank you to them for coming here and giving them that experience because it’s a once in a lifetime experience to meet with professional players and I think they’ve learnt one or two things by meeting us here.” said goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene.
Downs resumed their pre-season campaign for the new season two weeks ago at Chloorkop before moving their preparations to Rustenburg. Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi highlighted the importance of the selfless acts that the team showed to celebrate Mandela Day, besides the immense preparations they had been undergoing. Coach Manqoba said: “It was a huge sacrifice for the team, during pre- season after having had a tough session in the morning but still the players, the technical team and everybody else gave themselves to this event.”
“The club is giving back to the community, we had to sacrifice a little bit and give ourselves to the community and to the kids who attended the event. It was very important for all of us to make sure that we show a certain level of humility and humanness and be part of the collective which I think has gone very well.”