Friday, March 14, 2014
Western Cape Clusters kick-off in the 2014 Danone Nations Cup
The battle to determine who South Africa’s under-12 Danone Nations Cup champions will be has begun. The beauty of the tournament is that it brings organised soccer to the outlying areas of the country in its initial stages, and that’s what happened in Central Karoo where the cluster level games in the Western Cape Province began.
There are eight schools in the cluster: AH Barnard, Beaufort West, Murraysbug, Restvale, John Crawford Memorial, St Matthew’s, Teske Gedenk and HM Dlikidla.
In the first round of matches, HM Dlikidla Primary School, in Beaufort West, beat John Crawford Primary 3-1. Sicelo Madolo, the team manager and assistant coach, says the big win puts them on top of the log, and that’s where they want stay. “This win is great motivation for the team,” he said.
HM Dlikidla has only 3 players from last year in the team. In their opening game they decided to use their strength and fitness to make a statement and try and get an early goal and that is exactly what happened. “We will not slack off now,” Madolo said. “Our aim is to start the tournament on a high and end it on a high as well.”
He sees Teske Primary as their toughest opponents. They have tall quality players and it’s going to be a tough and interesting match. “We believe that our current team will take us further than last year’s team, they are more fired up and they really want to win this tournament and possibly go overseas to represent South Africa,” Madolo said.
Local rivals AH Barnard represented Western Cape at last year’s Danone Nations Cup national finals and Madolo said he has seen them play and doesn’t see them as strong opposition. “They do have experience, but with this team we can beat them.”
Their next game is against Beaufort West Primary and Madolo said they will not underestimate them. “They lost last week but often when a school loses they come back strongly and that is what we must expect.”
There is no perfect team and there is always room for improvement and Madolo said he will be paying attention to their defence . “They need to play more attacking and aggressive football without causing injuries.”
Madolo is head of sports at the school, and assistant coach of the team, and they have brought in Renny Hugo, an experienced coach, as the under-12head coach this year. Both have an introductory level in coaching and make a great team.
He singles out Shahiem Maanes, a striker who scored two goals against John Crawford, as a player to watch. “He creates a lot of opportunities, has a good attitude and listens to instructions and responds to advice.”
Danone Southern Africa is part of the Danone Group, one of the fastest-growing food companies in the world. Danone is present in over 120 countries across all continents. With 160 plants and around 100,000 employees, the Danone Group is the number one worldwide for Fresh Dairy Products. Danone’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible.
One of the core values of the Danone Nations Cup tournament is to encourage young people 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