Lion Stars FC in Joe Slovo Park, Cape Town, has helped a handful of youngster’s kick life-destroying habits. The soccer club was established in 2014 by Khayalethu Dyani to help keep young people away from drugs and gangsterism. Lion Stars FC plays in the Milnerton Local Division and has Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 teams, as well as a senior team.
“Three players got involved with drugs and gangsters while they were playing for us but we managed to help them correct their path. In the team, we also have a player who was living on the streets and who was addicted to drugs. After he joined our team, he cleaned up his act and is now an active church member in our community,” said Dyani.
Myolisi Tapile (17) from Joe Slovo plays for Lion Stars senior team, said he used to smoke marijuana with his peers. He left the team for some months because the drugs had taken control of him. “I started smoking marijuana because it seemed cool. At some point, I got so heavily involved in drugs that I decided to quit playing soccer. Fortunately, I later realized that soccer was a tool to success,” Tapile said. Upon returning to the team, he had to work twice as hard to earn his place in the team as he was in poor health. Tapile said his community, drugs such as Tik and Mandrax are easily accessible and a large number of his peers were using them.
Dyani believes that in order to curb social ills, community members must play an active role in promoting positive activities, such as sport.“We must find out what young people are interested in and get them active in those areas. It helps no one to insist that they do things that don’t interest them at all,” he said.