Monday, April 7, 2014

Witbank School progresses in Danone Nations Cup soccer tournament

Johannes Kanada Primary School of Witbank is the Emalahleni sub- regional winners in the Mpumalanga section of the under-12 Danone Nations Cup competition.

The Danone Nations Cup is organised along the lines of local cluster level games, regional playoffs, provincial finals and a national final, with the eventual winners getting to represent South Africa at the Danone Nations Cup world finals, in Brazil later this year.

The Emalahleni sub-regional playoffs were held at Marlin Park Primary School in Witbank. The competing schools were: Robert Carruthers Primary School (Circuit 1), Johannes Kananda Primary School (Circuit 2) and Merlin Park Primary School (Circuit 3).

Johannes Kanada has been participating in the tournament for many years but has never advanced beyond the cluster level before. Their team manager, Kabu Chippa Thebiyane said that after being knocked out again last year during the cluster games they decided to take a stand against this momentum of losing.

“September last year we started a grades v grades soccer tournament within the school that formed part of our trials,” Thebiyane explained. “In December we identified 12 players and they formed the 2014 under-12 team.”

Thebiyane believes the new team is looking good. “They are dedicated to the sport and they have a real passion for it,” he said. “We even trained during school holidays, and the boys had no problem coming in at 9 o’clock in the morning, for them it was great fun.”

Thebiyane said they have made it a tradition, after every training session, to have a discussion with the team. “It’s all about being positive,” he said. “We talk about their favourite players, and about soccer players that come from rural or informal areas that have been successful in the sport. We also tell them about the possibilities of having scouts from soccer academies at the national finals, and that their talent may be spotted.”

The team is coached by Edwin Shoko, who owns a soccer team in the area. “I brought him on board to assist me as I am the only teacher at the school who has an interest in soccer,” Thebiyane said. “He has a great coaching record, and is continuously developing himself in coaching.”

The biggest highlight so far in the tournament was scoring 11 goals in one game. “We are not bragging, but it’s through hard work that we are able to achieve such results,” Thebiyane said.

At the moment they are hard at work preparing for the regional finals. “I have arranged friendly games against local teams. We are wasting no time, the higher we move in this competition the tougher it it’s going to get,” Thebiyane said.

Johannes Kanada now proceed to the regional final which will be played at Victor Khanye School in Delmas on the 10th of May.  The Mpumalanga provincial final will take place at the 17 May at the Embalenhle Stadium, Embalenhle.

Results – round robin format:
Robert Carruthers School 2 vs. Marlin Park 1
Merlin Park 0 vs. Johannes Kananda 5

Johannes Kananda 3 vs. Robert Carruthers 0

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