A group of 10 year olds from Capricorn Park, all members of the Eagle Spurs Football Club, cleaned out an abandoned field in the area, to create a make-shift football training ground.
The club was established by soccer mad couple, Shireen Blanckenberg and her husband, Ivan.
The field, behind Capricorn Park’s Pick n Pay, is usually filled with dirt and mud and is abandoned in winter.
The youngsters, under supervision of the Blanckenbergs, cleared the field, in September last year.
Shireen, 43, is a domestic worker who has been a soccer mom for four years while her husband, a 63-year-old pensioner, has a Safa Cape Town D -level coaching licence.
Like any working mother, Shireen has learnt to balance work and her interest in sports while raising three energetic youngsters – Jaden, Lauren, and Gioven.
Shireen, who uses their garage in Capricorn Park as the team’s clubhouse, said she worked with young people at a nearby non-profit organisation, four years ago, before the soccer team was formed.
She said it was the children who inspired her to get the club going. Currently, Eagle Spurs has more than 40 players from under-10 to under-16 divisions, playing in the Grassy Park-based South Peninsula Local Football Association (LFA).
Despite the challenges they face, such as raising money every weekend to hire a kombi to transport the team to the soccer field in Grassy Park, their under-10 team finished as runners up in their division’s grand challenge knockout competition, while the rest of their teams finished in the top five respectively.
Shireen said they received support from a number of donors, including a Fish Hoek resident, Judy Bekker, who got together with her family and friends to help out the team.
“I want to see the club growing. I want to see the kids go on for trials. We have such talented kids that come and join us,” she said.
Ivan, said last year was slightly better as he had a casual job at a flower shop.
However, after the flower shop closed down, he had to find an alternative plan to help the kids with socks, boots and the kit. A couple from England helped them with the kit.
Ivan said two of their players were scouted by Ubuntu Cape Town and FC Kapstadt. Unakho Mzingeli joined Kapstadt’s under-12 team, while their captain, Phila Manakaza is in Ubuntu’s junior side.
“For me, it is not about getting money in my pocket. It is to keep the kids happy. I do this for passion. I love soccer,” he said.
Ms Bekker, said she has known Shireen for over 12 years, and her passion for kids is inspiring.
“They are determined to help kids in the community,” she said.
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