The Gauteng Department of Social Development in partnership with its sister department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreations, and Special Olympics South Africa hosted the Ekurhuleni Regional Disability Games at Vosloorus Stadium on Wednesday.
Aspiring footballer, Lebohang Mathabathe from Buhle Park in Germiston says despite having a mental condition, he will never be discouraged from achieving his dreams.
The 22-year-old, who is a learner at Isipho Sethu Special School in Vosloorus, suffers from severe intellectual difficulties, especially basic reading, writing and pragmatics.
Mathabathe, who looks up to Orlando Pirates Football Club duo, Vincent Pule and Zakhele Lepasa said for him to go further in football, he needs to improve on his physique and do training sessions consistently.
He said, “Football is my passion, and only through dedication I can succeed.”
Isipho Sethu Special School Chairperson of Sports, Thabang Segabutla echoed that sport was important to instil discipline to learners.
“We are happy that Lebohang Mathabathe is a good listener, he follows instructions and shows commitment in everything he does. We are trying by all means to keep him exposed to football and as many opportunities as possible. Despite having severe intellectual conditions, we are happy that our therapy sessions are assisting him,” said Segabutla.
He added that persons with disabilities should never be overlooked by society, especially on sports and academics.
Social Work Manager at Gauteng Department of Social Development Ekurhuleni Regional Office, Grace Moloi added that professional football stars can come out of the township, despite of their physical or mental conditions.
“The next generation of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi must come out of Ekurhuleni,” she said.