Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The Gauteng leg of the under-12 Danone Nations Cup is under way and last year’s provincial champions Sonqoba Primary School - from Katlehong on the East Rand – have won their three cluster level matches and will represent the Katlehong cluster at the regional finals on Thursday, 25th April at Thokoza Stadium.

Sonqoba won the Gauteng provincial title last year, which saw them go through to the national tournament, where they lost in the final to Pietermaritzburg’s Sinamuva Primary School.

Team coach, Abel Lebotho, is confident that they will successfully defend their title. “If we work hard, show determination and play as a team, we can make it,” he said.

Lebotho has no formal coaching qualifications, but he has a wealth of experience and has been coaching at the school since 1991. He has produced a number of players who have gone on to play professional football; among them are Siyabonga Sangweni (Orlando Pirates), Bongani Mbhele (Amazulu) and Siphiwe Mkonza (Black Leopards).

Lebotho says the season is going well so far. “Things are looking good. We are training every day after school for about two hours. I think mentally we are ready but physically there are a few areas that still need polishing,” he said.

Sonqoba won all three cluster level games they played to date: 3-1 against Xhathula Primary school, 2 - 0 against Zonke Primary School and 3-1 against Matshediso Primary School.

None of the games were easy, Lebotho says. “We were up against good teams, the hardest was against Xhathula as they were good in defence and showed much composure. My midfielders need to practise taking free kicks and crosses more. We got a lot of those in the three games so far, but couldn’t convert them into goals.”

It’s too early to single out key players, Lebotho says. “All my players are new, I am still assessing them. Making the national finals again would be a dream come true. We came so close to fulfilling our dream of representing the country at the Danone Nations Cup World Finals last year,” he said. “It’s one step at a time now, and becoming Gauteng champions would bring us one step closer.”

For group Danone, the Nations Cup tournament is all about giving young players the opportunity to believe in their dreams. Through this initiative Danone offers a sporting event that reaches out to and inspires millions of children all over the world.


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