A victory for rescued talent

Springs – When Veli Nkosi’s team headhunted players from Kwatsaduza to form XI Experience late last year, he had no idea they would take over the league in one season.

“We started the team as a way to give back to the community that supported us from when we were young, to become the men we are today,” says Nkosi, the team’s chairman.

He says he knew most of the players from when they were boys and most of them were starting to live dangerous lives.

“After I found them, we offered rehabilitation and counselling, to draw them back from the lives they were living.”

Nkosi says they were even referred to in the community as “the team of rejects”.

“But I knew they are great boys, and they are talented.”

XI Experience started playing in the SAB League, a regional league, last October.

“And we have been at the top of the log since,” adds Lucky Dlamini, the team’s manager.

He says even though the team is doing so well, they do face some challenges.

“It is not easy to come in a league, and overtake old teams right to the top.

“We have made some enemies along the way, and it is unnecessary.”

But they are eternally grateful, adds Nkosi, for the support they receive from the community.

“Everywhere we play, we have supporters.

“We provide free transport for them and they fill up taxis.”

He says his intention has always been to create a successful soccer team in KwaTsaDuza.

“I need the expertise of all the soccer legends and knowledgeable people.

“We can do better if we all put our heads together.”

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Xoliswa Kali

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