Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eastern Cape To Host Danone Nations Cup provincial final

The Eastern Cape under-12 Danone Nations Cup provincial finals take place on Saturday 24th May at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London, and among the seven contenders vying for a place in the national finals of the competition, will be Lukholo Junior Secondary School from Mbizana, in the Alfred Nzo District.

This is the second time that the school is playing in the tournament and their coach, Zwelethu Mdedelwa, puts their success so far down to hard work, good preparation and believing in your dreams. “We have trained hard and that is what got us through,” He said. “I noticed the teams we competed against were not as well organised as we are.”

The team has played 12 games so far this season, and won all of them. Some of those victories were in penalty shootouts, but Mdedelwa says a win is a win and they have given the boys some good practice as penalties might decide some of the games at the provincial finals.

“The boys are eager and determined to win the Eastern Cape title this year, but I caution them that the competition at provincial level is a different story and we will be up against the best teams in our province,” Mdedelwa said.

“Last year was the first time we participated in the tournament and we managed to get to the provincial finals, but were knocked out in the final game by Nkumzimbini JSS, who went on to represent the Eastern Cape at the national finals. We were happy as it was our first time, and the boys played well.”

Lukholo will be fielding a completely new team this year as there is no-one back from last year. “We have a good team, but we need to improve on our passing skills, so that is the area we have been focusing on during the build up to the provincial finals,” Mdedelwa said.

The coach said the entire team has been responsible for them getting this far in the competition, but if he were to single out an individual, it would be the captain and left back, Siyabonga Zulu.

“He is alert and sharp at all times and has the ability to read his opponents and make the necessary moves. He has been an integral part of the team. I believe he should go into an academy next year to capitalise on his talents and not get lost in the clutter,” Mdedelwa said.

The team is training every day at the moment and they are asking the coach to extend the practices for an hour each day. “This shows their determination and passion and it’s good that they are showing initiative but training every day can also be counter-productive so I insist they take a day off once a week for recuperation.”

The possibility of a trip to Brazil to play in the Danone Nations Cup World Finals is a huge motivator for the boys, Mdedelwa said. “But I tell them that getting the ball into the back of the net is what will get them there.”

The national finals of the competition will take place at Reiger Park on Saturday, 28 June where the team that will represent South Africa at the World Finals in Brazil later this year will be determined.


Participating Teams

Alfred Nzo
Lukholo JSS
OR Tambo
Mntonintshi Senior PS
Nelson Metro
 Hombakazi PS
Joe Gqabi
Sterkspruit Combined School
 Caley PS
Chris Hani
 Usenathi PS
 Bhongweni PS

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