Lifa is young man training under 13 soccer players at the Yeoville Boys Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. He passed his grade 12 in 2008 and decided to do a course in fashion and design. When he is not at school, Lifa spends his time training the Yeoville Boys Academy football team. As coach, Lifa dreams of one day coaching even bigger teams.
“I want to feel the challenge of being up there, the challenge that other big coaches feel and how it is to be up there. I don’t want to hear from people, I want to feel it for myself,” he says.
When I arrived in Yeoville, the sports field was packed with young boys and girls aged from 6 years to 13 years, with 2 teams already training on the sports field. In the scorching hot sun, Lifa was leading a crew of 12 young boys in drills across a wide open field. Situated in the heart of Yeoville, for most of these boy football practice is the highlight of the day.
Growing up Lifa dreamed at making it big in soccer. It didn’t work out for him, but when a friend asked him to help coach the Yeoville Boys academy, he jumped at the chance.
“I was overwhelmed by the request and just fell in love with the idea,” he recalls. “That’s when it all started in 2010.”
For Lifa, it’s a chance to help shape the future stars of tomorrow. “Since I have been there I know all the mistakes that I made, so I can help those who are coming after me what they need to do to reach their goals.”
Lifa sometimes faces challenges with the training the boys; they have their own minds and sometimes they just like playing. On the other hand, Lifa will be serious to get them on the field and start training. “Sometimes they don’t know when its time to be serious and time to play, that’s a challenge for me, it’s a bit tricky, the more I shout at them they feel like I’m pressing them too hard.”
But Lifa is able to get the boys to understand him. “Once we get into the flow, they will do exactly what I am telling them to do, which is nicer. They don’t question back they just do as they are told.”
Coaching has changed Lifa’s life, showing him that he can do something that other people are not capable of doing it. He feels good to be able to develop skills and training these young boys to be someone else in the near future.
The effort that he puts in achieving his goals as a couch is also motivating the boys that they can do it, and they must always attend trainings to improve their sport.
When it comes to training, they focus mostly on short runs because the biys are still young. Lifa says, “we mostly focus on short runs and how to turn. Those are the basic ones for their age. Things like squats we don’t do them a lot as they are small, they don’t need extra hard trainings. We try to take it easy so that they can love soccer.”
Soccer is Lifa’s sport of choice, but he points out that getting involved in the sport that is most interesting for each person is what is most important.
“The advice that I can give to the boys and girls out there, they must find in the community something that will keep them busy. It does not matter whether its soccer, cricket or whatever they must just find something that they can do after school that way it will keep them away from doing bad things and get that time to grow up without falling in danger.”
Cindy Dzanya works at CMFD Productions and loves running and gym.