A number of local bogus coaches have been abusing boys aged between nine and 16 years, according to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
The SABC has uncovered a shocking story where many aspiring footballers were molested in Soweto-based academies.
According to an SABC investigating team led by Special Assignment producer Siphiwe Linda, at least four bogus Soweto football academies molest their children on a daily basis.
In an interview with SABC radio station, SA FM, Linda said that the matter was brought to his attention by a concerned teacher, who was educating one of the molested boys.
“What happened is that the matter was brought to our attention by a very concerned Primary School teacher, who was teaching one of these boys. So, this boy went to school hungry. He was not given proper food as an athlete. He’s coming from Durban. He was questioned by the teacher. So, when the teacher was questioning the boy, she was told that the boy was staying in a so-called academy and they are not given proper food, and this teacher called us, Special Assignment to investigate the matter,” said Linda to SA FM.
“When I investigated the matter, I met this boy and other boys only to find out that they were staying in a confinement house in Protea Glen. There were about 50 of them. So, I tried to get into these boys, and they were trained so well not to speak to outsiders. It took a while to get through them but I managed to speak to them and they told me that they were also molested,” Linda added.
Linda disclosed that they discovered about 12 four-roomed houses in and around Soweto, but the majority of the coaches are originally from KwaZulu-Natal.
Fifa rules stipulate that for a football academy to be recognized, they must have a physiotherapist, a doctor and a proper diet established in the academy. They also must have football fields within the academy but this wasn’t the case, according to Linda.
The radio interview also revealed how much the parents were compelled to pay for the academy.
“These boys, their parents have to pay a minimum of R1500 to R2500 a month. When the coaches take them to (Orlando) Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Highlands Park and all of those professional teams; they have connections to these teams, but for them to get into trials with those teams, they have to sleep with these coaches,” Linda continued.
The investigation began in late 2017 when Linda discovered that messages were sent to legitimate coaches by the bogus coaches.
The purpose of these bogus coaches and academies is to make money out of desperate boys who dream of becoming professional players.
According to Linda, one coach was arrested in the presence of Police Minister Bheki Cele, but he was later released after his case was struck off the roster.
“It’s a group of coaches who have the same mentality and they know each other and they sleep with these boys,” said Linda.
Linda identified a coach who had six charges of rape which were all proven positive after confirmation from the doctors. Then he spoke about a second coach who was previously convicted of the same crime after he molested a boy from Zuurbekom, just outside Protea Glen in Soweto. The coach was given a three-year suspended sentence before he returned to football to continue where he left off.
Then a third coach allegedly molested no less than five boys who the SABC interviewed during their investigation.