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Rising Star (AG)

Amos Gumulira/TwentyTen

Location: Blantyre, Malawi

Hundreds of children flock to the three townships where Play Soccer Malawi operates, but the skill and determination of one young boy, 12-year-old Yaphet Thole, is enough to single him out in the crowd.

Whether he’s flicking the ball expertly with his foot, balancing it on his shoulder blades or keeping it in the air using only his knees, Yaphet’s passion for football is contagious. As soon as he starts to play ith the ball, his team mates gather around him in a circle, desperate to learn from him and filled with awe at his ability.

Ndirande Township is known for its poverty, lack of hygiene and prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Thanks to the sporting initiative Play Soccer Malawi that was established by Patrick Kulemeka, children in the area have the opportunity to play soccer while receiving basic education and life skills. Boys like Yaphet with such undeniable talent nurture the dream of one day making it as a professional soccer player. With the international financial aid that Play Soccer Malawi receives, it is hoped that his talent will catch the attention of people who can invest in his future.

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