Off the streets and onto the field

South Africa
July 10 - A good Samaritan in Johannesburg is giving kids an opportunity to get off the streets and onto the field. Dimitri Athana-sopoulos started a football academy in April 2012 that caters for boys from Under-12 to Under-15.
Dimitri Athanasopoulos started a football academy in April 2012 that caters for boys from Under-12 to Under-15. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - A good Samaritan in Johannesburg is giving kids an opportunity to get off the streets and onto the field.

Dimitri Athanasopoulos started a football academy in April 2012 that caters for boys from Under-12 to Under-15.

Training takes place every weekday after school, but only after the boys have already done their homework.

Across the road from Louis Botha Avenue near Yeoville, you’ll find this football academy.

Locals have thrown their weight behind the project with a sponsored first aid trailer.

A local restaurant donates 20 litres of soup daily and on Fridays the kids enjoy boerewors rolls together.

“We get to know them … soccer’s a breeze,” said Athanasopoulos.

“Initiatives like this one give these boys an opportunity to improve their circumstances through sport.”

Young Kwame Ntswalo might be disabled, but the Mozambican immigrant is as keen as all the others.

“My job is to … makes me exercise my legs,” said Ntswalo.

The academy dreams of moving to safer location in the future and its players are also dreaming of a bigger future.

The academy is not SAFA-accredited.

However, it does play a filler role for clubs without fixtures on weekends.

- Peter Stemmet

-eNCA

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