Monday, October 28, 2013


Eric Nxumalo High School, from the Bohlabela Region in Mpumalanga, has been awarded the R100 000 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup provincial winners prize money, after East High was stripped of their provincial title due to fielding an ineligible player in the national finals. 

“We will not tolerate dishonesty in our tournaments,” said Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko, the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) President.  “Not only has East High been stripped of their winnings, but the school has been banned from playing in any of our tournaments for the next five years.  We want to send a strong warning to all schools that participate in SASFA tournaments.”

Eric Nxumalo finally finished ninth overall in the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, the richest football tournament in Africa, after beating Freedom Park High (North West) in the ninth/tenth place playoff at the national finals that took place in Durban recently.

According to Eric Nxumalo coach, Canon Simango, the school is still to decide how they will use the prize money, but says playing in the national finals of a major tournament for the first time was a big learning experience for him and the players.  “The biggest lesson was that team-work is what wins games. I have been trying to instil this into the boys since the start of the season, and seeing how the academy boys played endorsed this,” he said. “Our weakest point was that the boys did not play as a team. They wanted to impress the scouts, so they played individually which cost us dearly.”

“Our best games were the last 2 when the boys started bonding together, but by then it was too late.”
Simango says.  Another observation was how seriously the other provinces were about the game.  “Looking at Clapham, Louis Botha THS and Rosina Sedibane, those 3 schools were the teams to beat. They take football very seriously and this showed in the way they played. All their games were full of action and great football. That’s how I want to see my team play.  They love soccer but I don’t know if they are as serious about it as those three teams.”

Simango started coached when he realised his own soccer career wouldn’t go far. “I have no coaching qualifications, I am teacher at the school and I coach because of the love that I have for soccer.

Preparing for the national finals was a big challenge, he says. “The players were studying for the prelim exams, so getting them together for training was difficult.  I also teach mathematics for grades 9, 10 and 12 and had to focus on education, so I was also not always available to coach. Most of the other schools had full time coaches with lots of qualifications.”

Simango was impressed with the standard of football at the tournament and said there were some skilful players there. “Most of the young academy players look like they could play for PSL teams already, not development sides,” he said. “While I recognise that we were at a disadvantage against the academies, getting to this level and seeing such talent was excellent for all of us. I learnt a lot that I can implement in the school and it will up the standard at our school. I feel privileged to have had this experience.”

Sanlam is an excellent sponsor of such a tournament, Simango believes. “We do not teach any form of financial literacy at the school and I believe it is important for kids to know about this from an early age. I believe Sanlam should come and give all our high school kids advice on how to save and invest in their futures.

Eric Nxumalo 1 vs East High 2
Ndamase 0 vs Eric Nxumalo 1
Eric Nxumalo 3 vs Benny’s Sports 2
HTS Louis Botha 4 vs Eric Nxumalo 0
Okiep 3 vs Eric Nxumalo 2
Positions 9-12 - Eric Nxumalo 2 vs Exec Academy 1
Position 9 - Freedom Park 0 vs Eric Nxumalo 2

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