Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HTS Louis Botha Prepares for the 2014 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup

The entries for the 2014 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup are rolling in, and among the first received was that of Bloemfontein’s HTS Louis Botha, last year’s Free State provincial champions and runners-up in the national finals.

Their coach, Prince Sani, says that they enter the competition every year. “Last year was a very successful year for us,” he said. “We won the provincial final, beating Harmony High, who has been the stars of the provincial finals in this tournament for a few years. We are looking forward to this year’s tournament and hope that it is as fruitful as it was for us last year.”

Sani knows it’s not going to be easy as he will be going in with a new squad – only three of last year’s team will be in action again this year, and the rest of the squad is made up of last year’s under-16 players.  “The team was selected in December last year before schools closed,” Sani explains, “We are currently in a building phase and  we will have a young squad that we will nurture over the next couple of years.  We started preparing in January and we have already played 5 games against local teams as part of our training regime.”

Sani is happy with the team’s progress, “But it’s going to be a challenge getting them to the level of last year’s team. I always tell the boys that the secret is to become friends, because when they know each other’s strengths and weakness they can help each other out and end up winning the tournament.  This aspect made coaching last year’s team easy because they were friends on and off the field.  However we will not put pressure on them and they must not be concerned if they play against an academy or school of excellence, they must just have fun. ”

As Free State champions and national runners-up Louis Botha won R700 000 to spend on legacy projects at the school and in the community and, according to Sani, they have decided to build soccer dressing rooms with showers and medical room. “Plans have been drawn up and we are waiting for final sign off so that construction can begin.”

Two players from the school - Tani Mpusana and Ofentse Mothlanke have been chosen to be part of the Sundowns Development Academy, Sani says it’s very rewarding as a coach to see players that you have coached since they were 13 years old reaching this level. “It’s an ultimate reward being able to produce good talent for a high profile development team like Mamelodi Sundowns.”

The school has received a lot of attention in their community since the national finals and a lot of young players are keen on registering at the school this year, after seeing the final against Clapham on TV. “We have had grade 10s wanting to come to the school; but we only accepting students from grade 8 as we want to start developing them from an early age,” Sani said.

Sani is fully aware of the importance of a sponsor like Sanlam.  “With Sanlam on board I have found out so much about financial literacy and I make a point of teaching my players about Sanlam and that they need to understand finance to have a successful career whether this is in soccer or in the boardroom.”

Registration ends on 17th March after which the teams will compete in their clusters.

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