Unathi Poro is a man on a mission. The Young Pirates FC juniors coach, says he wants to see the Khayelitsha Football Association (LFA)-affiliated side operating in the third division, in the next five years.
It is of course not going to be easy but Poro, from Site B, is on a mission. says they have plans in place. These plans, he says, include making sure their juniors graduate to the first team, and become regulars.
A football man through and through, having played the game at grassroots level all his life, Porho arrived in Khayelitsha back in 2009.
He soon looked around for a football home and found it in the form of Young Pirates. He quickly took over the coaching of the juniors and nowow, having been doing that job more than 10 years, he says they are more than ready to produce serious talent.
“When I started out, in 2009, I used to coach all the junior levels, under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16.”
He said he’s now sharing those responsibilities with fellow coach Mziwoxolo Mcako, who’s in charge of the under 10 and under-12 sides.
He said their most memorable achievement so far was when their under-16 side finished second in the 2016 Khayelitsha Local Football Association (LFA) league campaign. Their under-14 side on the other hand, were crowned champions of last year’s Wark Councillor’s Knockout competition.
He also noted that their mission is to now add on these little milestones to turn the club into a force among Khayelitsha LFA sides.
Poro said coaching juniors has it’s challenges and rewards. One of the challenges they face, he said, was the fact that one needed to be patient when dealing with youngsters.
“Most of the time we are dealing with youngsters who are playing football for the first time.
“So, we have to groom them, to make them understand the importance of playing for fun, especially in the early stages,” he said.
“On the flip side, it is great to see a youngster growing into a better player. And, as for me, coaching is a way of relieving stress. When I am on the field, coaching, I feel no stress.” he said.
Poro also noted that they had big plans for the club, especially looking at the next five years or so.
“We want to see our first team playing in the SAB league.
“That will, among other things, be made impossible by having more juniors making their way into the first team, on a consistent basis,” he said.
On a personal level, he said his immediate goal was to earn his Safa coaching licence. Poro comes in with loads of juniors having spent years, from the early 2000s playing for Mighty Stars and Happy Boys FC in his hometown. But, even back then, it always seemed that his real calling was actually in coaching. Because, while still playing, he would help out in coaching juniors.
And, he didn’t hesitate to do that on a full time basis as soon as the Young Pirates opportunity arises.
His teammate Mcako, who joined Poro at the juniors in 2010, described him as a dedicated junior coach. He said they share the same vision, which includes putting Site B which, he says, is sometimes forgotten, on the map.
He also agreed with Poro that coaching juniors come with a lot of challenges.
“Working with kids is not as easy, and they could cause you a lot of stress, especially if you are not patient.
“That is why it’s important to put yourselves at their level. You listen to them rather than dictating things to them just because you are an adult. It is important to see things from their perspective,” he said.