From playing in the dusty fields and streets of the small township of Waterloo, Zaba Nxumalo's soccer talent has taken him to the biggest stadiums around the world.
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By Zakithi Dlamini - Freelance journalist
The 19-year-old footballer has become a role model for many youngsters in his community after finding success with Sundowns and representing South Africa in countries such as England, Japan, France, China, Spain and others.
Speaking to Briefly.co.za, Zaba said he started playing soccer when he was in Grade 3 at Umhloti Primary School in Verulam. While still in high school, he was spotted by the coach of a local soccer team, Juventus.
His career took off and he never looked back. The youngster was soon invited to join a team in Spain, but moved back home after being selected to join Mamelodi Sundowns Academy.
“Playing professionally was always my biggest dream and I could not believe that it was coming true,” said Nxumalo.
“I could not see myself doing anything else besides committing myself to soccer. I eat, sleep and dream soccer.”
Zaba said the highlight of his soccer career to date was being selected for a trip to France to play in the Coca Cola Tournament. Zaba could not believe his luck when he was among eight players chosen as the best performing players throughout the tournament.
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“I knew God gave me this talent, however, I never thought my soccer skills could take me around the world. I thank God for the gift and talent He gave me. I also thank my parents for their support through this wonderful journey. I never imagined myself playing alongside top international players such as Xavi Alonso, a Spainish footballer, and many others, but it is happening!”
Born and bred in the township of Waterloo, Zaba makes times to share his skills and talent with youth in the area whenever he is home. Although he didn't go to a tertiary institution after matriculating at Clapham High School, that didn't stop him from fulfilling his dream through hard work and dedication.
“Nothing is impossible. It's doesn’t matter where you come from and what obstacles you are facing. If you have a dream, you must work hard to make it come true. Never let anything stand in your way. I’ve been around the world because I believed in myself and pushed very hard. If I can do it, my fellow youth can do it as well. It only takes dedication, “ said Zaba.
Today, Zaba’s community is proud to claim him as their own. He has encouraged hundreds of youth in his area and other neighbouring areas to work hard and not give up on their dreams.
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