Cape Town- From the streets of Lentegeur, Mitchells Plain to an international soccer tournament in Turkey, 18-year-old Zode Appolis has attributed his success in football to hard work and dedication.
Appolis, who played in a provincial trial match last month, was selected from 800 trialists across four provinces to qualify in a team of 24 soccer players set to represent South Africa in an international tournament in Turkey next year.
Having developed a love for football in childhood, Zode has grown to be one of Lentegeur’s most renowned soccer players and has been the recipient of several awards.
“Hard work beats talent and talent doesn’’t work hard. To everyone who is passionate about football or anything else for that matter, I want them to know that anything is possible if they’re willing to work hard and never give up on their dreams.” Appolis said.
Appolis added that one of his biggest motivations to accomplish success was to bring pride to his family and community, as a means to show gratitude for their ongoing support.
Appolis described the opportunity to play football overseas as a dream come true and an accomplishment he owed to hard work and dedication. He said that he aims to one day achieve his dream of becoming a professional football player with the means to give back to his community.
“My family is working very hard behind the scenes to make my dreams a reality and I am amazed by the support, words of encouragement and pride expressed from so many members of my family and community.”
Head coach at Bayview FC, Rezaan Jacobs, who has coached Appolis for more than 15 years, said that Appolis’ acceptance into the national team set to play in Turkey came as no surprise to him.
“He is a fantastic footballer and idol in our community. He is one of the youngest players to play in our top division and he is constantly developing his skill. I am hoping that this experience only enhances his development and character.”
Jacobs added that Appolis’ hardworking attitude, discipline, consistency and confidence will ensure his success in future endeavours.
In an effort to raise funds for his trip abroad, the Appolis family has started a number of fund-raising projects. The young football star needs to have an upfront amount of R30 000, before he is set to attend training Camp in Gqeberha in early February next year.
His grandmother, Mirree van Beulen, said that the family are overjoyed with the opportunity provided for Zode and are working overtime to raise the R30 000 required.
“We have started a nail and lash business to raise money, of which 50% of profits go to Zode’s fund. We have also started selling clothes and have run cake sales and karaoke initiatives.”
Van Beulen said that the family were immensely grateful for the support they have received from the community and would be appreciative of any donations from the public. Anyone keen to make a donation may contact Appolis directly on 069 539 1763.