Running a football club in the top-flight, second-tier or lower divisions is no child’s play! It can make a club owner or manager flee the scene.
In a game that could leave any club supremo’s pockets dry, it demands a lot of passion, longsuffering or perseverance, if you may want to call it.
Peace United owner and coach Paen Nkhwashu, the man who discovered Victor Letsoalo, shared his ups and downs, highs and lows with FARPost.
Perhaps he has stayed so long in the game because he takes it as his religion. His biggest motivation for starting the team was to keep young boys away from the streets and impart a great deal of knowledge about the beautiful game in the Ivy Park suburb of Polokwane back in 2005. Little did he know that he would stumble upon Royal AM’s highly-rated forward Letsoalo and many others one day.
“When I arrived at Ivy Park, it was still a new establishment, so there was no team around, and boys were roaming around the streets. That’s when I decided to establish a development team to keep them busy and away from the streets,” Nkhwashu told FARPost.
Peace United is currently participating in the Limpopo SAB League under the Capricorn district. As things stand, United are placed third in Stream B1 with 25 points from 14 outings.
Nkhwashu went on to divulge that they are faced with many challenges in their attempt to gain promotion to the South African football third-tier, of which at some point he wanted to sell the club as he runs the club out of his pocket, which he noted that “maybe in a week could be an instalment of a Polo Vivo.”
“Running a club is not like a bed full of roses and a jar full of honey. There are many financial challenges, player recruitment, and the whole logistics. But the pushiest thing is that we don’t get protection from the mother body (Safa) as we become exploited by bad match-fixing and teams not complying with the rules and regulations of the league. This issue stands in our way of developing players because one cannot develop players when you get demoralised all the time,” he added.
However, in a turn of events, Nkhwashu changed his mind about selling the team. When asked why he changed his mind, he said: “There are people who count on us to make a living. So, I made several consultations. My family disapproved of letting go of my hard work, and former players of the team also had a word with me. I then told myself let me see if I can give it a year.
“When there is unity and a drive and determination to look and play beyond the needs of oneself, that selflessness and team effort can ensure several things, and there is more to it than just getting promotion and high prices.”
One of those former players who convinced Nkhwashu otherwise is none other than Bafana Bafana frontman Letsoalo and ex-Orlando Pirates player Andrew Sebola.
United has produced a couple of players flourishing in the DStv Premiership and GladAfrica Championship, including the Baroka duo of Boitumelo Nkhona and Bennett Bobete, Victor Leatsoalo, among others.