Professionals | 14/03/2019

FC player supports NGO

Sobiech: “You can help with the little things”

FC player, Lasse Sobiech supports charitable project Young Bafana, which offers children from the townships around Cape Town football training and English lessons. The defender spoke with fc.de about his involvement in South Africa.

Lasse, what is Young Bafana about?

It’s a football academy that takes kids from the townships around Cape Town off the streets and tries to give them something for life in the form of football training and education. Kids from poor conditions, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a membership in a normal club.

How did you hear about the project?

A friend of mine from Hamburg asked me about two years ago if I could give him a kit for a project in South Africa that he supports. I said: Sure - and I asked what kind of project that it is. The founder of Young Bafana, Bernd Steinhage, has played football himself. Here in Germany, in the fourth division, and also in his native South Africa. There, with a former teammate, he built up Young Bafana. I spent a bit of time on it and followed the project on Instagram and Facebook. I really liked the work they do there, and above all, that they put so much passion into it. They try to get things moving and spend an awful lot of time helping other people. This passion pleases and impresses me.

How has the project developed?

120 children are playing there and they have six teams from the under-9s up to the men. They also organise English lessons for the children. So that the education side of things doesn’t fall short, the children may participate only in football training if they go to English lessons. Two boys from the project play in the second division in South Africa, which is great. In the end, however, only a fraction manage to make money with football. That's why English lessons are so important. Being able to speak, read and write well in English is the basic prerequisite in South Africa to progress in normal life.

As a professional footballer, you probably get many requests from people and projects that ask for help. How do you deal with it?

Basically, I like everything that supports people who are not doing so well. But of course you can not help everywhere. I decided to pick some things that I liked and where I know people, and then put in a lot of stuff and get involved personally.

During the winter break, you visited Young Bafana.

Exactly, my girlfriend and I were on vacation in South Africa and visited my friend there who introduced me to Young Bafana. Together, we went to the project.

How was it?

The people in the townships live a life with much more limited possibilities than we know. Electricity, for example, is a given for us. Not there. But people do not let themselves be overcome by all the adversities. We had a ball and played football with some kids. First there were three children, then 30. They were really happy about our leather ball. Such a ball is something very special for the kids there. This visit has driven me even more to help.

Such as?

During my visit I had FC jerseys and we brought a few footballs with us. In retrospect, we have now bought a lot of things, so that the kids can train there properly: T-shirts, balls, goals, hats, bibs, poles. This week Bernd Steinhage, the founder of Young Bafana, was here at Geißbockheim and we gave him an FC kit signed by all the players, which will be auctioned on Saturday in Hamburg for Young Bafana. I just want to support the project and draw attention to it. You can help with little things, with donations or clothes. With things that are not such a big expense for us.

You can find out more information on Young Bafana, here.

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