Unathi MabandlaAge: 23
Area of study: Geography and environmental management
Tertiary institution: University of the Free State
Unathi’s story

I am a football player, currently playing for Kovsies FC in Bloemfontein, in the Free State, in the SAB League. I have played in SAFA National Tournaments, from U12 to U21 level.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust Fund funded my tuition and textbook fees to study geography and environmental management at the University of the Free State.

The fund has not only assisted my financially but enabled me to challenge the stereotype that soccer players are uneducated and not good when it comes to academics.

I believe that this fund is important in terms of giving everyone involved in football hope for the future, to further their studies and solve the many social problems we are faced with in our communities.

At the moment, I am giving back to my football community by collecting damaged soccer boots and balls and repairing them. Together with Lehlonolo Ramolebothe (the FC Lazio coach) we identify players and teams in need and donate these balls and boots to them.

I am also organizing a tournament for U14 players along with the SAFA Motheo region and looking for sponsorship for prizes.

In the future, I plan to support soccer players by providing them with financial assistance for schooling and tutoring them where needed.

I dream of creating a soccer centre that will host U12 7-a-side tournaments and coaching clinics to help develop the technical ability of these young players. The centre should also be equipped with a study area, where anyone requiring assisting with academic studies can be tutored. The centre could also assist SAB Leagues and ABC Motsepte Leagues in the Mangaung area that don’t have fields.