Thursday, September 5, 2013

Welabasha High School Wins The KZN Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Provincial Final.

Welabasha High School from the UThungulu District of KwaZulu-Natal is the next school to go through to the national finals of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition.  They made it through by beating Sibongumusa High School 5 – 4 on penalties to take the KZN provincial title in Ladysmith last weekend.


The ultimate prize in the competition is R1 million to be used to fund sporting and educational projects.  For winning the KwaZulu-Natal title, Welabasha were given R100 000 which, according to Sandile Sabelo, their coach, will be put to good use. “The school still needs to decide what to do, but I want us to focus on building a proper pitch as we train on a field that is filled with rocks and it’s unsafe for the players,” he said. “We also need to buy each player a pair of boots. They don’t all have their own, and sometimes they have to borrow.”


This is the first time they have made it to the provincials.  “In previous years the downfall was the team’s level of fitness and their mental game,” Sabelo said. “This year I think we are better. We train 4 times a week for 2 hours and on weekends we have a friendly game. Before the provincials I sat down with my team and informed them about the benefits that this tournament could bring into the schools if we ended up winning the R1 million. “The boys now understand that we need to win this tournament so that we can have our own soccer field.”


Sabelo has been coaching for 6 years and has an Introductory Coaching Course certificate from SAFA. “Apart from those qualifications, it’s my passion for soccer that drives me to coach,” he said.


He believes that the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup is doing big things for soccer development in the province. “More and more schools, particularly in the rural areas, are getting involved in the tournament, not just because we can win money that will help us be more effective as a school, but also we get to travel and play against other teams and learn more about the game, and of course it is the scouts that come and watch the games giving our youngsters the opportunity of taking their soccer to the next level. 


“We stress the importance of education to our boys and the importance of a balance between academics and soccer. The players know that if they want to be called up to the academies they have to have the right marks.”


The coach identifies right wing Philani Biyela as a key player in the team. “He is in grade 12, on top of his class academically and a talented player for the team,” he said.


Philani takes his school work very seriously. “After matriculating I want study Social Services and become a Social Worker and help in my community,” he said. “And while I am studying hopefully I will also become a professional soccer player.”




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.


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