Meet Cape Town City's 7yo soccer mascot: 'This is what this country needs'
Football fans fawn over the boy’s passionate singing and township dancing style
Cape Town City’s seven-year-old “mascot” Mateo‚ whose dance moves and singing to the words with the players in the change rooms have been a social media sensation‚ is the son of Citizens assistant-coach Vasili Manousakis.
Manousakis (45) said Premier Soccer League-obsessed Mateo is blissfully unaware of the reaction he has created‚ with football fans fawning over the boy’s township dancing style and making comments such as: “This is what this country needs”.
“He’s seven years old. He started singing with the team when he was six last season‚” Manousakis said.
“I don’t know what to say about this kid. He’s just obsessed with local football‚ with the PSL‚ with the players‚ their culture‚ their singing‚ their language.“He wants to be involved all the time. And I think that passion must have also come from the players‚ giving him the attention‚ giving him the time and the love.
“It got to a point where the players were actually‚ like: ‘Where’s Mateo‚ we’re waiting for him – we’re going to sing now’.
“And he also brings a calming effect. He’s a kid‚ and he’s pure.”
He said Mateo did not ever want to miss a game.
“He does what he loves. He doesn’t want to miss a home game‚ even if it’s in midweek – he just suffers the next day at school.
“He knows the players‚ he knows the numbers. And not just City. He’s got favourites in every team.
“He loves ‘Shabba’ (Siphiwe Tshabalala)‚ he loves Steve Komphela. He talks to the coaches. He speaks to Eric (Tinkler‚ ex-City‚ now SuperSport coach) or Roger (de Sa‚ Platinum Stars coach).Manousakis said most of his son’s friends would probably choose an international soccer team if asked who their favourite team was. But Mateo loves PSL games.
“If you ask a seven-year-old kid what team he supports he’ll say Chelsea or Man United‚ and won’t even know the players.
“Mateo watches every PSL game at home. What seven-year-old kid watches 90 minutes of football? And he just loves the PSL.”
Manousakis said Mateo was taught his dance moves and the words to songs – sung in change rooms to lift the spirit before matches‚ or to celebrate victories – by City’s players.
“He’d come with me to trainings and matches. Slowly he’d sneak into the change room‚” the City assistant said.
“From the warmup songs he started getting the beat. The next minute we’re looking over our shoulders and he’s walking through the tunnel going out with the players."
His son had no idea that he had become a social media sensation.
“But I mean‚ he has no idea of the impact this has done (on social media). He just rocks up casually. If he goes on the field after the game he has people calling him.
“When we lost against Mamelodi Sundowns at Athlone‚ the Downs fans were calling him to come sing with them.
“And he’ll just casually wave as if it’s a normal thing and people know him.Mateo has a younger brother‚ Leandro (4)‚ and both attend Durbanville Preparatory School.
He has just started playing football for a club‚ Durbanville.
“He wanted specific Nike boots like (City players) Ayanda Patosi and Thabo Nodada. He’s a natural lefty‚ and he’s not afraid.
“So either he’s going to be a very good left-back or a decent winger‚” Manousakis said.