THemba's Journey of growth at Young Bafana
Themba Baka - remember the name

About 8 years ago, a little boy called Themba Baka hopped on the YB bus collecting older boys for training. He did this out of his own accord because he wasn’t a YB player (yet). 

Young Bafana Soccer Academy Player Themba Baka in 2017 as a young kid

He was way too young to join the training sessions so he kept himself busy collecting balls and kit for the coaches, whilst honing his skills and watching the older boys train from the side of the field. 

This went on for the whole season and by the following season, he was ready to start official training with the u12 team. He did not get regular game time, and played mostly off the bench, but with practice, Themba started to show promise. 

Because of his hard-working attitude, the coach took a special interest in him. Themba was a quiet and introverted boy and we learned he was being bullied at school because he was older than his classmates — an unhappy boy except for his football. 

There was only one solution and that was to find a school to help him flourish. We approached various schools and finally decided on Mondeor Eco School of Skills. With the assistance of kind donors, Themba is now finishing his first year of a 4-year diploma course. Next year he must decide on a specific trade (i.e. electrical, mechanical, building or plumbing) and specialise for three years to obtain his diploma.

With the assistance of a scribe during exams, his marks have improved dramatically (Thanks to the headmistress of the school who suggested the scribe).

It was a masterstroke! It changed his whole life!

Themba is now a strong vibrant 16-year-old, a lot more vocal and confident on and off the field. His football has improved so much so that he plays in a higher age group and he has been invited to train with the Young Bafana senior team playing in the professional ABC Motsepe league.

Themba has worked very hard on and off the football pitch. We at Young Bafana are very proud to be able to witness his wonderful transformation into an upstanding young man, flourishing both academically and as a footballer.

We are proud of you Themba. Keep working hard with a positive mindset and you will achieve great things!

#WeAreYoungBafana #ChangingLives

Themba Baka from Young Bafana proudly wearing his YB Kit and smiling before a soccer match
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