The SAFA/Transnet Football school of Excellence held an awards ceremony on Friday the 21st of February to celebrate the academic and sport achievements of the matric class of 2013. The ceremony, in its splendour, was attended by officials from SAFA, Transnet, the 2013 matriculants and their parents, current students at the school, local area councillor and former students of the school who have now made it big in professional football.
Also in attendance was Transnet Group’s Human Resources Executive Nonkululeko Sishi who congratulated the lads for exceeding expectations and achieving an 87.5% overall pass rate. Sishi said that Transnet had projected the pass rate from the 2013 class to be 76.5%, but was proven wrong. She encouraged the current class, to outperform the 2013 matriculants and produce 100% overall pass.
Addressing the gathering, Transnet Foundation head Cynthia Mgijima was pleased to remind the audience that apart from celebrating the learners’ accomplishments, the school was also celebrating 20 years of existence which coincides with the country’s 20 years of freedom celebration. Mgijima applauded the efforts from the boys, the teachers as well as SAFA and implored the boys to continue to be building blocks for the country and strive for a better life.
Present to offer further encouragement was former Bafana Bafana midfielder and SuperSport United ambassador Jabu Mahlangu whose words were echoed by Bidvest Wits player Jabulani Shongwe. Mahlangu reminded the learners that education is key to obtaining wisdom, understanding and the truth. “As your big brother I would like to say to you that you are our upcoming stars. Know your vision work hard to achieve your goals and put God first in all you do.’’
Jabulani Shongwe made a light note and told the boys that without sound education “you will not count your money that you earn as a star properly.’’
Lefore Lerefolo, a representative from SAFA Lerefolo extended gratitude to Transnet, coaches and teachers for the work. He reminded the current team to live up to the standards set for them and stressed the importance of education.
“The 2013 students captured two major cups in 12 months, they performed brilliantly both in education and sport. Football and studies must co-exist and this is achievable. Our coaches now have formal qualifications and so should you as players. Obtaining formal education will help you manage your future wisely. We are moving away for the trend of ignoring education in soccer,” Lerefolo said.
Speaking after receiving the award for top academic student for the class of 2013, Mpho Mapeto said "the bigger your dreams, the smaller your competition. I am encouraging both my former classmates and current students to silence your critics by always giving out your best. I thank my former teachers, coaches, Transnet and SAFA for the opportunity to be the best in life."