A South African born teenager is on his way to becoming an international football sensation.


BJ Banda was born in South Africa, though you wouldn’t be able to tell judging by his strong Irish accent alone. Brought up in Johannesburg by Zambian parents, he moved to Ireland as a young child and has spent over a decade living in Letterkenny since.

“I started playing soccer as far back as I can remember remembering anything. I love sport and my passion is to become an international soccer player. I joined my first local club Swilly as the age of 6.”

It soon became apparent that the youngster had a talent for football and he ultimately joined Finn Harps’ youth set-up in 2015, after catching the eye playing for local side Letterkenny Rovers. Having subsequently impressed for the club’s U19 side, he was soon called up to the first-team squad amid the crucial end-of-season First Division run-in.

Consequently, on 19 September, an 18 year old Banda made his debut against Cobh Ramblers, an Irish football club in the League of Ireland First Division. A month later, he ended the regular season with his first goals for the club — a brace against Wexford Youths, an Irish association football club based in Crossabeg, County Wexford.

Banda, entered the field in the 103rd minute for the Irish club with the scores locked at 1-1 on aggregate as two of the biggest players battled it out for a spot in the Irish Premier Division.

With time running out, the 17-year-old Johannesburg-born striker popped up in the box to head home a 117th-minute winner, securing the club’s promotion to the top-flight for the first time since 2008, and cult status for himself in Donegal.

The moment was captured in a YouTube video that would subsequently go viral. With three minutes to play before a dreaded penalty shootout scenario, the ball is played into the box and Banda narrowly fails to connect with it initially, as the defender manages to temporarily clear his lines.

Banda has become a household name in Ireland and hero to many.

Looking ahead to the future, Banda says he dreams of playing for a top club in Europe someday. And if the promising teenage striker keeps up the great work then he is set to have a very successful career.

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Sources: the42

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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