The Stanley FC Barcelona Striker Challenge South African winner has been announced. Stellenbosch sports science student, Marinus de Villiers won the grand prize of a VIP trip for two to see FC Barcelona (Barça) live in Spain at the end of April 2016.

The prize is the ultimate football fan’s ‘money can’t buy’ experience, along with winners from 29 other countries globally, Marinus will represent South Africa when he competes in the Stanley Barcelona Striker Challenge.

Marinus says, “I feel that such an opportunity does not come very often and it is actually the first time I have ever won such a major competition. It feels unreal, but very exciting at the same time. I am currently in my Honours year (4th year) specialising in high performance sport. I am a great sport enthusiast and play soccer myself, as well as coach different teams and players. I chose to study sport science because of my love for sport and really want to make a difference in someone else’s life through coaching or participating in sport. The only way to live life to the full is when you have a passion for something and sharing that with those around you.”

Marinus has never been to Spain before or seen Barça live and he is taking his father with to Barcelona, “I believe my father deserves to share in my experience simply because of what he has done for me through all the years and deserves a getaway chance.” Both Marinus and his father will receive a personalised FC Barcelona kit before taking part in an exclusive training session with Barça’s world class coaches. While training at one of the club’s top facilities, they will learn the art of taking the perfect penalty kick and represent South Africa competing in a skills competition that will result in the crowning of the 2016 Global Striker Champion.

“I think that I have a very good chance of winning the Striker Challenge as I am going to practice even harder now than before to win the challenge. The harder you practice the luckier you get,” says Marinus.

The Champion will take his/her place on the team and officially sign for FC Barcelona as an honorary player and sit with Barça in their dugout during a live match. Either way, Marinus and his father will be treated as VIPs to a live match at Camp Nou, a special tour of Camp Nou stadium and museum and still have some free time to explore the fascinating city of Barcelona.

“I am excited for every single aspect of the experience, but to pick one that I am looking forward to the most, I would have to go for the chance to see the setup at Camp Nou and to be able to work with and have a chat to some of the coaches and players, as well as touring such an amazing stadium and football club. I think it will not only be an incredible experience, but I can also take a lot of knowledge back home with me. Having learnt how such a world famous club functions on a day-to-day basis.”

At Camp Nou Marinus and his father will meet some current and former Barça players, he says, “Because I am a Goalkeeper myself I would love to meet Andre ter Stegen and/or Claudio Bravo and to meet the clubs icons, Messi and Iniesta, would be a huge privilege. I have a great passion for football. Unfortunately, I am first of all a Liverpool F.C. supporter, but to be honest when it comes to La Liga I prefer to support Barcelona mainly because of their world-class players, they always have the greatest players at their club.”

To qualify for the competition Marinus bought a Stanley 12 in 1 multi-tool and a Stanley screwdriver with a cushion grip at Struben’s Valley Makro as his Stanley purchase for at least R300 and entered the sms based the Stanley FC Barcelona Striker competition.

He said, “I wanted to buy a gift for one of my soccer coaches and I thought a Stanley multi tool would be the perfect gift. I am a true fan of multi tools as they always come in handy at the right moment and I own a Stanley mini Multi Tool and they are really useful. I bought the screwdrivers with a very nice cushion grip for my father as he does need a few new screwdrivers in the garage.  Stanley tools are reliable and of exceptional quality.”

Because Marinus is still a student he does not buy tools often, but whenever he does he looks at Stanley first. “I knew that Makro would have a variety of Stanley tools to choose from and therefore I went there specifically, knowing I would find a good gift there. Luckily I stay in student accommodation where I don’t need to fix too many things myself, but when I need to fix something in my flat I find my Stanley Multi Tool very handy. When at home in Johannesburg there are more opportunities to do handy work and a Black and Decker drill and screwdrivers get used a lot,” he concludes.