Overcoming adversity through soccer

Bafana Bafana soccer star, Bernard Parker. PHOTO: Supplied

Labelled the “top goal scorer” for Kaizer Chiefs, Bernard Parker’s biggest dream was to overcome the adversity of substance abuse, poverty and crime the best way he knew how to, through soccer!

Parker started his soccer career quite early in his life.

He first played for Hellenic FC in Cape Town which then changed to Benoni Premier United. In 2009, he joined the European league by playing for a soccer club in Serbia. There were multiple Swedish clubs who showed a keen interest in Parker but ultimately it was Kaizer Chiefs that stole Parker’s heart.

He has been with the bigwig name for over a decade and was released in June 2022. During his tenure, Parker also managed to play exceedingly well for South Africa’s national football team, Bafana Bafana. Apart from being a world-renowned soccer star, he recently launched an autobiography written by Dr Charley Pietersen, titled “From A Shack To Destiny!”

In this autobiography, Bernard remembers the struggles of growing up in an impoverished township that was infiltrated by substance abuse and gangsterism. In the autobiography’s foreword, first team coach for Manchester United Benni McCarthy describes Parker as someone with a “winning mindset, someone who has a lot of tenacity because it takes so much guts and effort to achieve what “Parker, a young boy from Reiger Park, has achieved”.

The focal points about the autobiography included challenging the norm, focusing on education and having a sense of resilience. Bernard will launch his autobiography in Bloemfontein on 24 September 2023 at the Free State Musicon, from 11:00 until 13:00.

Abigail Visagie