Success Stories

#changinglives is more than just a motto at Young Bafana.
It's the result of hard work, discipline and faith in your abilities.

Asanda DyaniAsanda Dyani
Asanda “Zuka” Dyani

The Miracle Boy who entered Pro Soccer

Since August 2018 he is the first Young Bafana graduate who is equipped with a professional contract in South Africa. He is not the biggest. He is not the strongest. His talent, on the other hand, is a gift he excels with.

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Keino DavidsKeino Davids
Keino Davids

Keino changes to the US

Keino Davids joined Young Bafana in January 2016 as a 16 year old boy with the aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player. However, he did not expect the path to the top to be so strenuous and tough.

Fortunately at Young Bafana all children are made aware of the fact that soccer alone is not a long term solution, education is the more reliable way to create a successful future.

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Jojo, Ndondo, LennardJojo, Ndondo, Lennard
Jojo & Ndondo

Two stars in international kindergarten

Jojo and Dondo were the first two "Raising Stars" beneficiaries of Young Bafana. Dondo was adopted by his uncle in 2015 when after losing his father in a gun related firearm argument.

Their home language being Isi-Xhosa rarely exposed them to the English language which is absolutely crucial for every South African child’s future, the earlier they start the better.

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Asanda “Zuka” Dyani

The Miracle Boy who entered Pro Soccer

August 2018 saw Zuka become Young Bafana’s first graduate to be awarded a professional contract in South Africa. He is not the biggest. He is not the strongest. However his talent is a gift which far outweighs any disadvantages that his size may bring.

In January 2014 Young Bafana decided to develop the first of three performance teams. Trial training sessions were organized to screen talented players from Lwandle Township.

Becoming a part of Young Bafana offers a rare opportunity for many children and adolescents to cross the boundaries of the township in order to be promoted as an athlete. This enables them to participate in games and tournaments in Cape Town. In addition, Young Bafana supplies all transport and equipment, as well as nutrition after each practice. School lessons are also provided for the children.

One of the applicants, a small, rather slender boy seemed to stand out from the start. The boy, who went by the name of "Zuka" (short form of the weapon Bazuka) immediately caught the eye of the coaches. His strengths were clearly identified in his technical skills, his speed and distinctive game intelligence. He certainly lived up to his reputation in Lwandle where he was known as one of the most talented players by his peers.

Along with his teammates of the newly founded U15 Performance Team, Zuka made the 10km (return) journey to training up to five times a week on foot. The team, coached by Young Bafana founder Bernd Steinhage spent their first year training without shoes.

Zuka’s squad was promoted three seasons in a row - to Cape Town's highest youth league. In addition, Zuka and his team reach the final of the Coke Cup 2017, South Africa's biggest amateur tournament.

Zuka has always been seen as a player who does not speak much or put himself in the foreground. He often seems absorbed in his own thoughts, often isolated but never unpopular in the team. While other players are focused on their free time right after training, Zuka is still focused on football and thoughtful about his performance.

On the pitch, he stood out as one of the most alert and communicative players. He was always exemplary in his time management with Young Bafana and is extremely respectful to the coaches.

In order to keep fit, in addition to the football training, Zuka went jogging about three times a week at 5 o'clock, in front of the school, for two hours. His dedication to his game was admirable.

Zuka loves the offensive game. One of his most popular, and at the same time most effective moves, is dribbling with the ball, cutting inside and at the edge of the box, and then finishing off with a goal full of finesse. Similar to the favorite move of FC Bayern player Arjen Robben, just on the other side of the pitch.

Another unique characteristic for which he is known in the Township, is his goal celebration. As a rule, he performs a summersault, followed by some artistic footwork.

Raised by a single mother, Zuka lives in a small corrugated iron hut along with five other family members. Supporting the family could be a challenge and so Zuka attempted to bring in some revenue for the family.

On December 16, 2015 Zuka was attacked by three criminals in the street after he managed to raise some money for his family. One of the gangsters was armed with a broken glass bottle. In the ensuing scuffle he stabbed Zuka in the middle of his face. The wound needed 24 stitches. Though thankfully, the bottle missed his left eye by only a few inches, the scar will remain a part of him for life. Zuka overcame this trauma and concentrated on returning to the pitch as soon as possible.

Though Zuka has a great love for the game of football, his commitment does not only stem from his desire to become a professional footballer. To move beyond the circumstances of his life in the township will afford his family some relief from the incredible financial strain they are under.

In the 16/17 season, the 1.65cm winger scored a total of 35 goals for Young Bafana in the highest youth league in Cape Town and received the Golden Boot Award at the end of the season.

When asked what he would want to achieve next, Zuka confidently exclaimed: "I want to play for the Kaizer Chiefs *, Coach."

* The Kaizer Chiefs (16 million members) in South Africa is the equivalent to Bayern Munich in Germany.

After hearing this, Young Bafana founder Bernd Steinhage waited for the right time and contacted the management of Kaizer Chiefs to arrange a trial session for Zuka. After some fundraising to cover the costs of the trip, Bernd and Zuka set off to Johannessburg to follow Zuka’s dream.

The head coach of the Kaizer Chiefs’ U-23 team was immediately impressed and expressed his interest after the first trial. The promise of a place in the team was not long in coming.

Zuka continued to show his determination when he first arrived in Johannesburg. For the first two months, he was unable to live in the boarding school due to an availability issue. A temporary solution was found and Zuka lived with his cousin during that time. The cousin’s home was 40km from the Kaizer Chiefs’ training ground. It was no small feat for this 18 year old from the small township of Lwandle to find his way every morning to training and home again in the evening in the big city of Johannesburg. Fortunately Young Bafana was in a position to help Zuka financially with the extra costs this incurred.

During his time training with Kaizer Chiefs Zuka proved his value and worth despite the greater competition on the pitch. He became the top scorer in the diski side and helped the team reach and win the Diski Shield final versus Sundowns.

Zuka played for the "Diski" team of the Kaizer Chiefs, meaning the reserve team, which provides or “feeds” the first team with fresh talent. In the Diski League, the other reserve teams of the Premier Soccer League are also represented. The public interest in the Diski League has grown so much in South Africa that the prime time games get screened on national television.

A TV commentator had the following to say of Zuka:

English: "He is always there; he is always in the mix. That’s why he can finish that ball because he sniffs the opportunity.”

Zuka began a new chapter in his journey in August 2018. Together with his mentor, Bernd Steinhage, he has decided to accept a 2 year contract with South African second division club, Ubuntu Cape Town FC. Zuka is currently playing with a no 13 on his back. The move has facilitated many advantages. He has more time on the pitch, has improved as a striker and also appreciates living closer to his family again.

Although Zuka is not officially a Young Bafana player anymore, he will always be a part of Young Bafana, and he will continue to be advised and regularly visited by his mentor Bernd Steinhage.

The fact that Zuka has the number 13 on his back, is testament to his hard work and irrepressible beliefs. He has come from a small township and has already achieved something remarkable. It’s a journey that Young Bafana as a training club and the residents of the Lwandle Township are very proud of.

He says that his greatest encouragement is the certainty that God is by his side.

His journey is far from over. His big dream: PSG.

Bonne Chance, Zuka!

Asanda Dyani, Kaizer Chiefs
Asanda „Zuka“ Dyani
Asanda Dyani, Spieler bei Young Bafana
Keino Davids

Keino changes to the US

Keino Davids joined Young Bafana in January 2016 as a 16 year old boy with the aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player. However, he did not expect the path to the top to be so strenuous and tough.

Fortunately at Young Bafana all children are made aware of the fact that soccer alone is not a long term solution, and that education is a more reliable way to create a successful future. Hence the willingness and hard work both staff and players put into the educational programmes offered at the academy.

After successfully winning the league and cup double in 2016, Keino became even more intrigued by the idea of turning his childhood dream to profession. His coaches continued to preach the importance of education to him and so did his mother. At this stage Keino did not know just how important his schooling would be for his future. Having successfully passed Grade 11 and improving his marks even further in Gr 12 he was turning into a holistic scholar who excels both on the field of play and at school.

It was in 2017 that the idea of combining soccer with education would be seriously considered as the next step for Keino. Together with Athletes USA Young Bafana created an online portfolio and video for USA scholarship opportunities. 

His application was successful and he is currently enrolled at Sheridan College in Wyoming, USA on a soccer scholarship

Keino is part of the first group of graduates to come through the Young Bafana development system, imagine what we can achieve in future!

Keino
Jojo & Ndondo

Two stars in international kindergarten

Jojo and Dondo were the first two "Raising Stars" beneficiaries of Young Bafana. Dondo was adopted by his uncle in 2015 after he lost his father in a gun related firearm incident.

Their home language, Isi-Xhosa rarely exposed them to the English language which is absolutely crucial for every South African child’s future, the earlier they start the better.

Their journey started when they were enrolled at Storksnest Kindergarten in Somerset West on full scholarships in January 2016.
Before January 2016 the boys barely spoke a word of English and were hanging around the Lwandle township every day.

Two years down the line they are well spoken and comfortable with the English language. Moreover, they conduct themselves in a positive manner and are extremely happy with the new friends they have made at Storksnest.

The school reports confirm the above mentioned facts and Young Bafana will continue to closely monitor the development of the boys.