Patience is a virtue for local soccer player

Sifiso Valashiya on the field in Munsieville practising soccer.

Soccer is, generally-speaking, the world’s most favourite sport since stadiums are usually packed and matches are sold out weeks prior to the big games.

Many would agree that soccer brings family, friends and communities together, which is why it is also known as the ‘beautiful game’. However, seeing what soccer does to change the lives of young soccer players is the real reward, as in the case of 22-year-old Sifiso Cheese Valashiya of Munsieville, who began playing for the Rangers Football Club in his neighbourhood when was seven and continued until the age of 17.

In late 2010, just before his Grade 11 exams, he made it into the U/19 team at Moroka Swallows Football Club.

He admits that his matric year was by far his most frantic year, having to juggle school and soccer, along with travelling between his home and the intense training at the base in Dobsonville, Soweto.

In 2011, the young player had to focus most on his studies as he was in the most demanding and psychologically stressful year of his school career. As a result, he would arrive late for practice and matches and miss game time, something that could have been avoided if the people in charge of signing him to his development contract had delivered on their promise of helping him relocate – among other things that could have assisted the young player massively.

Although his performances were impressive as he was a regular scorer and goal creator at training, this right winger could not get game time, and the U/19 coach at the time, the late Dennis Lota, could only include him in the team six months after Cheese had signed his contract.

The delay did not discourage him, as he continued training with other teams in Munsieville. It also granted him study time and after successfully completing his matric, the youngster, who was raised by a single mother, then decided to fully commit himself to soccer.

He was, however, faced with yet another common challenge – the cost of travelling to his training and match destinations – despite countless requests for financial assistance from the team’s caretakers.

Then, in late 2012, he enrolled for an Electrical Engineering course to follow his second love – electricity.

Fast forward to 2017 and one would think this aspiring, talented soccer player’s love of soccer had faded, but no, Cheese seems keener than ever to play soccer, and he says he will not give up on his first love.

To date, he is still on the books of Moroka Swallows as his contract binds him to the Dube birds for the time being. To keep fit, sharpen his skills and keep up with other players, he trains with other local teams.

“Training is a lifestyle for me and it’s indispensable, because I don’t know who might spot my talent and get another team to approach me. I have be ready for when that time comes,” he said.

The biggest South African team he dreams of playing for is Supersport United, because he likes their style of play and knows he can stand out in that team. From there, he would like to add the Cheese factor to our national squad, Bafana Bafana.

He would like to encourage younger players to attend trials and take talent searches seriously, as he did when he went on the Nike Challenge, a talent search for upcoming soccer stars, held in Pimville, Soweto, which he discovered by word-of-mouth.

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