I had just moved in to stay with my late father’s side of the family, my uncles and aunts, his siblings. It was a big move for me, moving from the rural fields of Bhamshela to the township in Umlazi. Almost everyone, knew about my arrival to stay here. Apparently my old man was a well-known coach around here. His was not only known for his coaching skills, but also his big heart that got me my first ever Lacoste sneakers.
It was a normal summer morning, with a beautiful blue sky, and birds chirping outside, I was relaxing under a tree carefree. I had a clear view of the drive in to my home, and there were cars going up and down, it a norm though here. Then came this gold BMW, stopped right before our drive. A man came out then started walking toward me underneath the tree. I thought maybe he is lost or something as he is coming towards me. As he moved closer his eyes widen as if his staring at his worst fear. I was really uncomfortable for a second. I stood up and stared right back at him and our eyes were locked for a split second. I had to put on a face as I was sitting at home after all, where I am safest.
He was well dressed, branded from head to toe and a million-dollar cologne. This guy was a big deal that was clear to me the moment he stepped out of the car, but I couldn’t recall having seen him before. I was quite sure I didn’t know the guy at all. As soon as he got to me, he extends his hand with a big smile. All the earlier frowns had been taken over by a big smile. I was amazed by the gesture so I was hesitant, but eventually extended mine too. At that time my mind was racing because judging by his facial, he looked like someone who actually knew me well, while I was certain I didn’t know him at all. Nor could I think of any reason why a guy like him would come at me like this. As soon as we shook hands, I had this face like, who the hell are you exactly.
Well without any warning his first words were, ‘sure mfana ka coach, hamba grand kodwa ntwana’, that moment right there, he was one of the many successful guys, who were coached by my old man. I have been told about how, he drilled discipline and focus in his players, he didn’t only teach them soccer, his relationship with the players existed even outside the soccer pitch to some. Seeing his work got me thinking how life can be unfair sometimes, like why Mother Nature didn’t give him time to groom me into someone like the guy standing before me. After we were done with our formal greetings, we sat and talked about his journey, and he kept talking about how I look like my father.
When it was time for him to go, he said: “After I heard how you looked like coach and have moved here, I took the opportunity upon myself to take my time to come and see you. Share a few stories I had with him, also bring you these sneakers. Coach talked about how he will well dress you, this was his favorite brand. Take care of them, he might be gone but his way made us who we are today”