GroundUp (Cape Town)

27 February 2013

South Africa: Khayelitsha Kid Living His Dream in Belgium

interview

Twenty-year-old Ayanda Patosi from Khayelitsha is playing left and right wing for Sporting Lokoren in Belgium.

What is your training schedule like? Do you practice every day?

Yes, every day. Only Wednesday I'm normally free.

How you did got involved in soccer?

You see I grew up in a place where most people love football and they always talk about football. So I was 7 years old when I started to play for a team in the township and I was an important player for our under 9 team. From there I started my football.

Do you have a special routine or superstition before you play a big game?

All the games for me are big games, so before the game I pray and tell myself that I want to go out there and make me happy, not to impress the coach. I want to have good performance that I would be proud of. So that helps me a lot. When you trying to impress someone you never play your normal game. So I remind myself before the match that I'm there to represent and want to be happy after the match.

With so many amazing goals and wins, what has been your proudest moment on the field?

The best moment is when I scored against Club Brugge in Brugges and also a volley goal against Standard Liege. It's just a great feeling to score those kinds of goals in front of a lot of people. And one of the best moments I will never forget is when I scored on my birthday on a derby match against Beveren in the 89th minute. These were great moments in my career so far and they motivate me.

Did you have any challenges in your soccer career especially before playing soccer in Belgium?

Yes I had a lot of challenges. Firstly I had to sacrifice to be away from home and friends and it's difficult. I only speak Xhosa and English and I came to a country where they speak Flemish (similar to Dutch) and French.

It's been difficult but I am strong mentally. That's all you need when you are away from your people. I have a really big challenge right now. I just had an operation and when I was discharged out of hospital all I wanted was my family especially my Mom because being alone in pain isn't easy. You need your mom's touch.

How has the moved to Belgium been?

It's been great so far. And the team us good too. We won the Belgium Cup in my first season with them.

Who is the sports icon that has influenced you the most?

Anele Ngcongca (South African football player who currently plays for Belgian Jupiler League club Racing Genk.) I met him when I was 16. I went to train with Genk and I was living at his apartment with him. Watching him playing a few games was a great motivation for me. Ever since then I worked harder. We speak regularly. He always motivates me and gives me guidance in my career.

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