The family of former PSL star David Mkandawire got a boost on Friday when the South African Football Players Union (Safpu) gave them R5000 for transport.
Mkandawire was discharged from the Weskoppies Psychiatric where he spent a month after being taken off the streets.
The New Age last month highlighted Mkandawire’s plight after spotting him begging at a shopping centre in Kempton Park.
The former University of Pretoria and Maritzburg University defender’s mother, Idah, arrived in the country from Malawi just over a month ago to see her son. She has been stranded with no money to return to her Mzuzu home, the capital of Malawi’s northern region.
“I’m grateful for what Safpu and The New Age have done. You have made my heart glad. It also gives me relief to see that my son has people who care for him and want the best for him,” she said.
Safpu acting president Tebogo Monyai said it was their responsibility to empower football players.
“It’s our mandate to help our members and David is one of them,” he said.
Monyai told the family that they will not be giving him cash handouts, but would arrange that he gets a coaching qualification and subsequently, a job.
“We believe the most important thing is skills development and we will be making arrangements for him to take up a coaching course. Thereafter we will place him at a school where he can coach and build himself up as a coach.
We are aware of his dream to become a coach and we want to make it a reality,” Monyai said.
Safpu works closely with Coerver Coaching, a globally acclaimed soccer skills teaching school.
Monyai said Mkandawire would benefit from their deal with Coerver. He believes his former Tuks teammate will learn valuable coaching techniques and drills.
“Coerver’s programmes are designed for coaches at every level of the game, from grass-roots to professional and we believe this will be a good starting point for David,” he said.
Social worker Nyko Mabunda, who works with a team of mental health experts, believes with proper treatment and adherence from Mkandawire, he will achieve his coaching dreams.
“In order for him to be able to get well and live a normal life, he will need to have a proper support structure. His family, friends and the union can play a pivotal role,” Mabunda said.
He believes frustration was the main cause of his previous condition and said that he needs a strong support system.
An excited Mkandawire said he was raring to go and was quick to ask when this would happen.
“I’m happy about what you’ve done, it’s a good thing. I am ready to start my coaching journey. I have always said I want to coach at the highest level one day and this would be the first step to my dream,” Mkandawire said.