Football is the biggest game in the world and not many people make it big in such a tough industry! One South African who is breaking the mould and giving it his best is Warren Cunningham. At twenty-five years of age, Cunningham has played in England, The USA and here in South Africa.
Warren considered two options upon leaving high school; to either enter the professional world of Football immediately or go into a football scholarship program in the United States. Warren was forced into the latter at the start of 2001 due to a knee injury which did not allow him to pursue a contract offer as a youth professional with the English club Doncaster Rovers. Instead, in 2001, Cunningham headed off to Nova South-Eastern University in Florida. After a successful year as the teams' top scorer he transferred to the University of Richmond in Virginia. Cunningham's scholarship included free tuition, books, accommodation, food and football expenses. The scholarship allowed him to play competitive football whilst simultaneously obtaining a degree with majors in Accounting and Finance.
Warren commented, "In consideration of my injury the wisest option for me was to secure my future through education." At the same time however, Cunningham says he would have benefited greatly from a direct route into the professional side of football after high school. Warren has just completed his first domestic season with Mvela Golden League team, Fidentia Rangers F.C. Despite interest from local clubs for the coming season, he has decided to make the leap to England to further his career.
Cunningham's highlights include scoring a penalty for Kaiser Chiefs against FC Moscow at the FNB stadium, and following it up with a penalty for Sundowns in the semi-final of the Gauteng Cup a week later. With an ambition of playing for Bafana Bafana, Cunningham believes that he has a lot to offer his countrymen, and First Step says " now that's real ambition!"
Part of his job: Goal Scoring
Favourite Football moments: Scoring Twice for Gillingham F.C. in a pre-season clash with Fulham F.C . in England.
If you weren't playing football what would you be doing: "I've started a clothing brand for South African football supporters called Spi2! That's where I'm headed in business."
What's your message for South Africa's Youth:
"Empower your lives through education first!"