#TuksFootball: Nhlanhla Mabaso hopes to get kids to dream again by playing sport

Posted on December 06, 2023

Making a difference through sport is the one thing Nhlanhla Mabaso is passionate about.

There is a good reason for the Tuks footballer's passion. Football saved his life. It is Mabaso's own words. Through his experience, he hopes to change the lives of many youngsters in the years to come.

But it is a case of first things first. From next week in Cape Town, he will play for Tuks at the 2023 USSA Football Championships edition. Mabaso makes no secret that he and his teammates are out to prove a point, especially since they missed out on playing in the 2022 Varsity Football tournament. It was a first for TuksFootball.

"We want to make amends for what has happened," said Mabaso.

His love for football started when he grew up in Rustenburg. Unfortunately, Mabaso fell under the influence of the wrong crowd.

"I was part of a group of friends who rebelled against the norms of society in a not-nice way. One of the consequences of this was that I started to skip school. There was a real chance of my life spiralling totally out of control. It probably would have if it were not for football.

"I fell in love with the game the first time my foot touched the ball. Playing football gave me a purpose. But it also led to my facing a dilemma. Do I keep on being a rebel, or do I play football? I could not do both. Choosing football meant that I would have to go to school. It was a case of no school, no play. I chose football. It was the best decision I made.

"Football took me away from all the wrong things. I really took stock of my life. I realised the friends I thought were good for me were not. I started to get serious about my schoolwork and watched what I ate. I did all this because I wanted to play football, a sport I am good at.

"I owe so much to my dad and brother, who have always supported and guided me when needed. Their respective stories serve as inspiration. They started from scratch and went on to make something of their lives."

Mabaso is a third-year BEd student. When his playing career ends, he dreams of starting a sports school in Rustenburg.

"I want kids to have the same opportunities I had. They also need to realise that sport does change lives, but then again, they should know that no sports career lasts forever. Therefore, it is crucial to be serious about studies, whether at school or university.

"The important thing is to get kids to dream again. Set themselves goals. Doing things they love and not being on the streets committing crimes."

Mabaso likes to write poems to relax, but they are not for anyone to read.

"My poems are not for the world. It is for me. It tells me that my journey is not done. I have achieved a lot but can do much more."

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences