Saturday, August 17, 2013
Mamelodi Sundowns U-19 development players will play for Clapham High in the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Gauteng Provincial Finals
When Clapham High School takes to the field in the Gauteng provincial finals of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition at the Muckleneuk Stadium in Mamelodi on Saturday, they will be fielding what is, in effect, the Mamelodi Sundowns development team. One of the players has already had his first call up for the SA under-20 national team. Whether that will be enough to see them through to the national finals in Durban next month, remains to be seen, but they certainly go into the day as one of the favoured teams.
Johannes Petje, the team’s manger, confirmed the strong Sundowns link. “We use the Sundowns field to train on, and sometimes the boys practice with the Sundowns first team and get a glimpse of what it is like to be competing in the PSL. The boys are often invited to watch Sundowns first team in action.”
Petje is hoping that the experience will help them make the national finals and represent the province. More than half of the 2012 Clapham team is back again this year and Petje believes that consistency will be one of their strengths. “We try and let the boys focus on the game at hand and not to look at future or past games,” he said. “Discipline on and off the field is very important. We stress that everyone is there to play football in order to win.”
That approach has meant that the team has not lost a single match in the tournament so far. Petje says they have experience in the tournament and know what is expected of them. “We also encourage the boys to live a healthy lifestyle, and tell them how to behave and that a positive attitude is needed. These are important in such a massive tournament.”
Petje singles out two players, central defender Kgotso Mohare, the team captain, and striker Percy Tau as his key players.
It’s Kgotso’s first time in the tournament. He started playing soccer at the age of 6 and was at HB Nyathi Secondary School before being scouted to play at the Sundowns Academy and was placed at Clapham.
Kgotso sees his manager: Mr. Johannes Petje as his role model. “He made me a better soccer player and believes in me more than I do in myself,” he said.
The coaching approach at Clapham is unique, Kgotso believes, and it will give them an edge. “We concentrate on control of the ball and not holding onto it for too long. We are taught not to kick unnecessary long balls and strive to score more goals.”
Percy Tau has played for the U-20 National Team and Petje describes him as a “special player, humble and disciplined. He takes football seriously and sees the field as a platform to display his skills.”
Tau is originally from Witbank in Mpumalanga and is one of 8 children. His mother is a domestic worker and his father is a long distance driver. He was spotted by Mamelodi Sundowns scout Harris Choeu in 2010 while he was at Phakama Combined School. He joined Clapham in 2012 and was selected to play for the SA under-20 National Squad away against Botswana and Nigeria. A tour he believes has made him a better player. “I believe that tour was a good learning session for me because my aspiration is to be an international soccer player. It prepared me for the bigger dream I have as a soccer player.”
It remains to be seen whether Clapham can cause an upset beating seasoned Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup contenders like reigning champions, the SASFA Sports School of Excellence and Rosina Sedibane, who recently returned from a stint in England.
About the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup:
· The tournament is run under the auspices of the South Africa Football Association (SASFA)
Named after prominent businessman Patrice Motsepe’s late mother, the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup offers the biggest prize money at school level in Africa (R3.4 million in total).
· The sponsors are: Sanlam, the Motsepe Foundation and the Sanlam Ubuntu-Botho Community Development Trust.
· The primary objective of the tournament is to revive the culture of school football amongst students between the age of 16 and 19 years old.
· The tournament also gives players the opportunity to showcase their skills to soccer scouts with the talented players being recruited into development structures to be nurtured and shaped into professional players.