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Dutch stars bring football skills to orphans in Mamelodi, Africa, during World Cup

Dutch footballers in Mamelodi
Dutch footballers in Mamelodi

Former Dutch Internationals bring their football skills to children in the SOS community in Mamelodi, South Africa

While many South Africans were bemoaning Bafana Bafana's dismal 3-0 loss to Uruguay in the World Cup on Thursday morning, SOS orphans and community children were learning ball skills from former Dutch football stars. Some of these children still harbour hopes of playing for their national team.

Four former Dutch football players who are now part of the World Coaches Programme joined local coach Jack (who grew up at the SOS Children's Village in Mamelodi) at the Rethabile Sports Ground in Mamelodi on 17 June to train SOS and community children with some ball skills.

Dutch players Pierre van Hooijdonk (formerly of Nottingham Forest and Celtic),  Aron Winter (Inter and Lazio), Ruud Krol (currently the manager of South African Premier Soccer League side Orlando Pirates) and Guido Albers, joined local coaches and delighted children with their football skills.

The "Football Clinic" held in Mamelodi on the sports grounds behind the SOS Children's Village was the kick-off for the World Coaches Programme (a partnership between SOS Children’s Villages and the Royal Dutch Football Association) in South Africa. "This is a dream come true for me," said Jack. His own soccer team participated in the programme. Jack was one of the coaches to take part in the first training in South Africa of the World Coaches Programme. There were 22 coaches from across South Africa. The training was an introductory level football coaching course and life skills workshop for community coaches. "We learnt how to plan for training," explained Jack.

Football coach in MamelodiVan Hooijdonk, who was capped 46 times for the Dutch national team, and noted for his spectacular free kicks, trained a group of boys at goals. He was full of joy as he shared his time and expertise, while making the girls giggle with his playful winks. Thami (13) from the Mamelodi community said, "Playing soccer keeps us off the streets. Today we learnt to juggle, shoot and many other ball skills."