South African sporting legend inspires Mosney soccer youths
2018-06-15 13:23:26 -
Sports
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By Ken McCue
 
  Albert Johanneson FC, a soccer team formed by residents at the Mosney direct provision centre, was named in honour of the first black South African player to line out for Leeds United FC. 
 
  The team was founded in 2010 by South African couple, Odette and Rowan Windvogel, who lived through the apartheid system in their homeland – and recognised familiar symptoms leading to a deterioration of mental health among the young people in Mosney, alienated from wider society in a kind of ghetto lifestyle.
 
  With Odette in charge of coaching and management with Rowan as physiotherapist and nutritionist, the team entered into the local underage league, performing well in their first season in a kit supplied by a sports company in South Africa. 
 
  As mentors, Odette and Rowan prioritised getting their youngsters up to speed in fitness along with a focus on their dietary needs, which were not being met by the centre’s canteen food. 
 
  Then when Shamrock Rovers player – and former Mosney resident – Oscar Sibanda came on board as a mentor, the boys had a more local hero to emulate. 
 
  The Zimbabwe native was making an impact in the League of Ireland while appealing a deportation order that would have resulted in a threat to his life if he were returned to his homeland.
 
  With the addition of Robin Windvogel, the Glentoran FC winger and son of Odette and Rowan, and Mosney resident Lido Dandelion Lotefa from DR Congo, Albert Johanneson FC soon reached the dizzy heights of the district soccer league. 
 
  Both players, as result of the time they spent honing their skills and building their confidence with the team, are now making a big impression on the League of Ireland juvenile ranks, with Robin playing on the wing with University College Dublin and Lido striking with Bohemians. The two players have also received national attention, with Robin drafted to the South African training camp and Lido contributing to the Republic of Ireland schools international team that won the Centenary Shield against England.
 
  Robin and Lido, who remain great friends, have bright futures in the game – with Robin competing for a sport scholarship at UCD and Lido applying for a place on the ETB-FAI Player Development Programme. 
 
  And aside from his soccer career, Robin – a graduate of the ETB-FAI course – is also prolific singer-songwriter who has just penned a song for the FIFA World Cup.
 
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