Billiard Molongoana works seven days a week as a gardener and handyman to earn money to fund his passion: The Naledi Football Club in Site C, Khayelitsha.
Billiard used to walk home in the evenings, and see the boys in his neighbourhood, playing soccer in the streets, kicking anything from empty cool drink bottles to shoe boxes. He would lie awake at night, thinking of the kids on the street, the skill he saw in them, the joy the game brought, and more importantly, what he could do to make a difference.
After a few evenings, he noticed the boys playing closer and closer to his home, seeming to make contact with him, but then running away as their courage faltered. One night, one of the boys approached him, started speaking but again, the boy ran away.
One evening Billiard went up to the group of youngsters and said ‘You must not be afraid to ask for what you want, otherwise you won’t get anything’. He walked off, and the boys shouted back, asking if he has a soccer ball? That moment, Billiard realized – he needs to start a team, where everyone would be welcome.
With his initiative, he has managed to register four teams with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and mentor over 300 young students. He has also been fortunate enough to employ two full-time assistants. “If you ask Billiard about his soccer team, he cannot stop talking with pride.” says one of his employers, Lee-Anne Singer.
With no resources or financial support, Billiard secured second-hand sports clothes for and shoes for a few of his teams. He also secured a printer to print logos on the kits to make them feel even more part of a team.
Billiard was finally witnessing his dream take off, when an unfortunate event took place. On Tuesday 23 May 2017 while Billiard was at work, he arranged for the Naledi coach, Power Mbotoli, to drop off 30 uniforms at the printers, sadly while on his way, Power was mugged at the station and was robbed of 30 kits, paperwork and money.
After this major setback, Billiard’s employer, Lee-Anne Singer, turned to crowdfunding with Backabuddy to help provide these students with the uniforms on his Behalf. “When he called me that Tuesday, to say he was going to be late for work, I could hear a sadness in his voice. And when he told me about their loss, I realized that we cannot allow Billiard to lose hope – because he is Naledi FC’s hope” says Lee-Anne.
Lee-Anne adds, “From the moment I met Billiard, I was enthralled with his passion, energy and enthusiasm to learn. His stories of growing up in the 1950’s, amidst poverty, but in a home filled with love, inspired me to strive to be a better parent. Billiard’s ingenuity and problem-solving skills are evident in everything he does.”
Billiard’s kind-hearted character has attracted a number of donations. In less than a week he raised R14 118.27 on Backabuddy and attracted a couple of generous donors.
TYGERBERG 104FM – Donated 30 soccer Uniforms to Billiard’s campaign!
After reading Billiard’s story on Facebook, Nicolette Kinnear from Tygerberg identified with Billiard’s story. As a mom with soccer-loving boys herself, this plea hit home when she pictured her children in this position.
Nicolette told her employer, Tygerberg 104FM about Billiard and the circumstances that brought him to crowdfunding with Backabuddy and they happily donated 30 soccer uniforms to the campaign.
“If Billiard is able to make such a big difference, with so little, what’s our excuse not to?” Nicolette added.
Maritz Electrical (Peter Barendse & Kurt Maritz)– Donated R5000 after hearing Billiard’s story on Cape Talk.
“Maritz Electrical does a large part of our business in the townships, and on a daily basis, we see first-hand what a positive impact sport can have on the youth. When we heard Billiard’s story it was a very easy decision – If you can, you must. We look forward to seeing Naledi FC on the pitch soon, in the brand-new gear.” – A quote from Maritz Electrical.
- BRAND CONTACT CONSULTANTS – Donated R5000 after seeing Billiard’s story on social media.
Monwabisi Thethe , CEO of Brand Contact Consultants came across Naledi FC’s story, and although he is Joburg-based, this did not stop Bisi from getting involved. Monwabisi’s baby boy was born a few days prior to Billiard’s incident. When he read the story, he felt that the perfect way to celebrate his wife and his new baby, was by making a difference in the lives of these children, to remind them about the power of hope.
You can support Billiard and his team by donating to his Backabuddy campaign here:
For more information, please contact:
Zane Groenewald – Backabuddy Social Media Manager / Marketing Officer
082 602 0735 / [email protected]