A little bit of history was made on May 10 when seven young boys from an orphan village near Durban stepped onto the prestigious Stade Louis Stadium field (home of AS Monaco Football Club ) to play their first game in the Monaco Sainte Devote Sevens Tournament.
The boys, who together with the rest of their teammates, had been enjoying royal treatment ever since their arrival in luxurious Monaco a week earlier, are from LIV Village (Lungisisa Indlela Village), which is pursuing a God-inspired vision to raise children who come out of extreme abuse to become the leaders of tomorrow.
By the time the excited boys arrived on the field wearing their LIV u12 rugby team jerseys with pride, they had already made a name for themselves among the hotel staff, restaurant guests and other tournament teams.
One of the comments by a parent from the American team was how well-mannered the South African boys were and how easy it was for them to interact and make new friends.
As a result, by the end of the tournament the LIV coaching team — Menzi Ngidi, coach and Chester Koyana, manager — and LIV Village founder Tich Smith, were exchanging contact details with many potential visitors interested in making their way to LIV Village to see where these amazing ambassadors had come from.
On the field of play, the boys from SA struggled to cope with the clearly more seasoned teams, as they only started preparing for the tournament at the end of January and this was only the 2nd official match of their lives.
“However, as the coaching team, we were very proud of our boys as they showed incredible maturity and sportsmanship regardless of the results that went against them. Given more time, we are sure that they would have fared much better, but we are very chuffed with their commitment and determination,” said Koyana.
“It is difficult to describe what such an experience could possibly mean to the boys, as they are also finding it hard to find the words to describe how they feel. From almost everyone in the team getting onto an aeroplane for the very first time to playing against teams from abroad, the chances of such an experience happening for these boys are in the realm of miracles,” he said.
He also paid tribute to the tour sponsors Unitrade, LIV Clean and Coragains, for their vital part in making big dreams come true.