In the small town of Zwolle in the Netherlands, a young South African midfielder is being nurtured and sharpened through the ranks of the Eredivisie club.
Thuto Mojanaga is a 13-year-old central attacking midfielder who moved from South Africa’s SuperSport United Academy to PEC Zwolle academy after undergoing a successful trial with the club in April 2019.
The midfielder took time out from his tight schedule in Zwolle to catch up with FARPost and explain the journey that has led to him moving abroad at such a young age.
“I’ve been playing football since I was three. In South Africa, I played in the training of SuperSport United from the capital Pretoria. They have the best youth academy in all of Africa,” said Mojanaga.
The 13-year-old explains that Zwolle offered him a balance between school and focusing on his football which is something that he struggled with back home.
“There was hardly any combination in South Africa. There I often had little time for homework, which is better arranged here in Zwolle. That is why I like playing football in Zwolle very well. I have a nice team with nice trainers, so I am very happy that I came to Zwolle,” he added.
Despite his young age, Thuto is full of ambitions to realise his dream of becoming a professional football player.
“I want to become a better football player every day. I think that is going very well this season. I have the feeling that I am constantly developing myself here, of course, I hope to reach the first team of Zwolle. Ultimately, my big dream is to play football for Manchester United or Paris Saint Germain.”
The youngster quickly adapted to the PEC Zwolle environment, style of play and culture, but it took some time to get the right formula and adapt to life in the Netherlands.
“In South Africa, I was on my way from home to the football academy of SuperSport United FC for almost two hours in total. Here in Zwolle, I am at the club after five minutes by bike – that makes it much easier.
“I can just walk the streets in the evening as a child, you shouldn’t do that in South Africa. I also quickly made new friends here, so that also helped to make myself happy.”
As he concluded the midfielder spoke about the one thing he struggled with when he arrived in Holland.
“I do miss the warmth of South Africa, it is really very cold here in the Netherlands. In my first training session, the grass was all ice, then my toes felt like little ice cubes. That is, of course, a downside, but fortunately, we have a winter break here,” he concludes with a laugh.
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By Prince Sobayeni