In 2017 young Tshifhiwa “King” Maligudu’s life was changed forever on a dusty soccer field in a small village in Limpopo. Jerry Sikhosana, legendary Orlando Pirates player, spotted his talent while King took part in a local tournament sponsored by Hollywoodbets. Jerry has a solid reputation for spotting talent and, based on his recommendation King was given the chance to try out for the Kaizer Chiefs Academy.

To take hold of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity King had to get to Johannesburg, so Hollywoodbets stepped in by sponsoring his travel costs and accommodation. Thanks to this financial support he was able to attend the trials, and he duly impressed the coaches, securing himself a sought-after spot at the academy!

His success has made his family and his former team proud. Jafter Mamugudubi from the Hollywoodbets-sponsored Mabaleng Community Development (MCD) football club is following his career closely. “I am excited for Tshifhiwa along with his whole family and the rest of the community. He started playing soccer at six years of age and I know he’s been a Kaizer Chiefs supporter for many years so he was very happy to be chosen to join the academy,” he said.

King’s mother is eager to see what the future holds for her talented son, and is proud of the fact that he’s managed to secure sponsorship from a big brand at such a young age. King receives new kit, soccer boots, clothing and groceries for his family from Hollywoodbets. His talent has already started changing his own life, and the lives of those close to him!

Since joining up King has shown tremendous growth as a player, proving that it’s good to trust the instincts of veterans like Jerry. Part of what attracted his attention was King’s clear passion for the sport.

“When I first saw King he was just a young boy playing soccer with no boots, but he was going up against boys who did have boots and he gave them good competition even without any boots. The next time I saw him play was in the final of the tournament. I noticed that he was playing the same way in the final as he was in that first game and I realised that he was still the same boy, playing confidently and being himself. He didn’t let the excitement and pressure get to him. Since he’s joined the Academy I’ve heard very good things about him from Arthur Zwane, Kaizer Chief’s Development Coach. He is growing and is definitely a real talent,” said Jerry. According to Jafter support is a vital part of an up-and-coming soccer player’s journey. “His success would not have been possible without Hollywoodbets’ help. Tshifhiwa’s family did not have the necessary funds to send him to the academy. I believe it’s important for businesses to get involved in the sport of soccer if we want to see it grow, because funding helps bridge the gap between rural and urban teams. This is incredibly important when it comes to developing future players.”

Wayde Dorkin, Hollywoodbets’ Soccer Brand Manager, is thrilled that their gamble on Tshifhiwa is paying off. “It’s no secret that Hollywoodbets strongly believes in giving back to our community by investing in local sportsmen and women. Over the year’s we’ve put both our time and money into supporting local club soccer in particular at a grassroots level, and we’ve been building a relationship with MCD for quite some time. We also trust both Jafter and Jerry’s judgement when it comes to noticing young players’ ability. We are looking forward to following Tshifhiwa’s progress in the years to come and being part of his journey.”

Tshifiwa visits Hollywoodbets Team Support in Durban

Tshifiwa kicked off his school holidays with an exciting visit to Durban on the weekend of the 14th to 16th of December 2018.

His journey started with his first flight experience when he boarded from OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg to King Shaka Airport in Durban. He started with meeting the Hollywoodbets KZN Team before all the fun began.

Tshifiwa was hosted by Hollywoodbets Team Member Minehle Ntombela who showed him around the town and ensured he had an amazing time with all the east coast had to offer.

Tshifiwa was over-the-moon with the trip and said “I really enjoyed my trip because it was my first time to Durban and I enjoyed to go to the places that I never been before like Ushaka Marine World, the beach, and the dolphin show - I only saw that show on television. Minehle from Hollywoodbets was treating me well and made me feel welcome. I thank Hollywoodbets for what they are doing for me.”