Shooting for the moon…

Milano United's under-12 defender Masood Davids shrugs off his marker at the Salt River Blackpool junior tournament this year.

One thing that’s always been on his mind while growing up is something that his father, Marawaan, told him: “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land up among the stars.”

Masood continues to aim high and has earned himself a spot on the Western Cape under-13 team who will compete at the national championships in Durban, next month.

The central defender was part of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Cape Town under-13 regional squad who won the regional tournament, earlier this month.

Head coach of the SAFA Cape Town team, Ebrahim Layman, said Masood is a promising player and has the potential of making the South African youth team.

A Grade 7 pupil at Fairview Primary School, Masood said he’s learnt a lot at the regional tournament, and now considers himself as one of the best defenders in the Western Cape.

He was initially spotted by the Western Cape selectors during a league match, and was asked to attend the first round of trials in Bonteheuwel, last month.

“The first trial went well and I progressed to the second round in Langa, and the final round at Rooikraans where they selected the squad.

“The one-day regional tournament in Oudtshoorn was a great experience because I got to play alongside some of the best players in the Cape.

“And, it was a great feeling to win it – after beating Maties 3-0 in the final,” said Masood.

“They announced the Western Cape team afterwards and 13 of our players made the cut.

“I never thought of myself as being good enough to make the regional team, but now I’ve made the Western Cape team and could make the SA team as well.

“Becoming a professional soccer player is a dream of mine, and I feel I’m getting closer to that dream slowly but surely.

“The journey so far is encouraging because now I know I’m one of the best players in my age group, in the Western Cape,” he said.

Masood started playing soccer at the age of seven – at the same club as his father, Milano United.

He wanted to play alongside his friends and joined Montague Spurs FC the following season, and had stints with Crusaders and Southampton before making his way back to the black and yellow.

Earlier this year, Milano competed in the Salt River Blackpool junior tournament and finished runners – up after losing 1-0 to Tramway FC in the final.

“I felt that I needed to join a more structured club if I wanted to improve as a player and reach for my dream.

“I attended the Milano trials and made the team.

“At the Blackpool tournament, my performance in the first game against the champs, Salt River, went well because I managed to continuously break down their play and we beat them 2-0.

“I had an even better game in our second game, against Ajax CT, and we beat them 1-0,” he said.

When Masood is not putting in hard tackles on the soccer field, then he’s keeping fit in the boxing ring or striving to make the Western Cape athletics squad.

“I was close to making the WC athletics team last year for javelin, but narrowly missed out when I competed at the Champs of Champs.

“I started doing boxing at the start of last year at the Pound for Pound boxing gym, in town,” said Masood.

An admirer of SuperSport United defender, Riyaaz Ismail – who’s a former Fairview Primary pupil – Masood also has ambitions of playing for Matsatsantsa one day.

“I’m a big fan of SuperSport United because Riyaaz Ismail and Fagrie Lakay play there. Riyaaz is also a centre back.

“I watched him play at the Bayhill under-19 tournament and he is very good. Hopefully one day I will get to play alongside him,” he said.

Masood said he has great memories with his previous club Southampton, when they won the knockout cup and the league two seasons ago.

And, he hopes to guide Milano to the same victories as they compete for promotion to the champions league.

On Saturday, they continued their unbeaten run in the Super League when they beat Anchoridge FC 8-0 – Masood scored one and assisted in two goals.

Layman said Masood’s strengths on the field is his physical presence and composure on the ball.

“Masood did well with the regional team and is very strong on the ball.

“The Western Cape team is made up of six regions and Masood will get the chance to test his skills against the best players in the country.

“At last year’s nationals, the WC team lost to the eventual winners Gauteng in the semi-finals.

“The competition at this year’s tournament will be no different, with Gauteng being the team to beat, but Limpopo and Mpumalanga are also very strong at the moment,” said Layman.