EC’s young Mvakwendlu a star in Brazil
By: Andisiwe Mali and Yola Kekezwa
Unathi Mvakwendlu arrived to a hero’s welcome at the East London airport on August 27, 2014. He returns from Brazil where he took part in the International Federation for people with Intellectual Disability (INAS) Soccer World Cup.
Friends, school mates, parents and his coach chanted with tears of joy when he appeared from the terminal.
The Khanyisa Special School in Cala pupil helped the national team (amaSwana-swana) reach the final stages of the tournament. Unathi scored a crucial goal in the semi-final defeating Poland in penalty shootouts. South Africa went down 4 – 0 to Saudi Arabia in the finals played in Sao Paolo. The win was a record for Saudi Arabia who became the first team to win the title three times.
“I think we played very well because we reached the final, I feel great because I know I worked very hard and played well,” says Mvakwendlu.
About playing at the international level Mvakwendlu said; “I am very happy to have played at that level, it was my first time out of the country and I managed to register two goals under my name.
“One of the challenges we faced was the language yakwelacala and also the different time zones” he added.
Mvakwendlu is however not new to success, he helped his team win a gold medal in a provincial tournament held in East London last year. He also took part in the South African Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired (SASA-II) games held in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year.
Unathi’s coach Siwaphiwe Magwentshu said “Every time I see him play its touching, I feel like crying because he is so talented and when he plays it’s like a display of how football must be played.
And continues; “When he plays it’s like he’s reading his moves in a manual book,” and adds; “He is also very disciplined and calm, a utility player who excels in every role given to him.’’