Thursday, May 1, 2014

Limpopo Primary School heads to Gauteng to play in the Danone Nations Cup National Finals

Sheshego’s Rev MP Malatjie Primary School won the Limpopo Danone Nations Cup provincial finals and will be heading for Johannesburg to play in the national finals on the 28th June.  If they win there they will represent South Africa at the World Finals in Brazil later in the year.

They earned that right after beating Chuchekani Primary on penalties in the final of the provincial playoffs at the Seshego Stadium in Polokwane.

Their coach, Phillip Nkwe, was overjoyed at their success. “For years we have been striving for the opportunity to represent our province at the national finals and this is our year,” he said.

They advanced to the final despite losing their opening game in the playoffs, to Mashamba Combined School by 1 - 0, and Nkwe puts that down to nervousness. “I could see that the team was not playing like they normally do, so after the game we had a team talk and I told them to overcome their fears and to play with confidence, after all the other players were all feeling the same way.” he said. “We then went on to beat Kgwatlhele 3-0 in our next game and it was like watching a completely different team. They just needed that motivation to keep them going.”

Nkwe acknowledges that the pressure is now on them. “Perhaps being our first experience at the national finals might put us under more pressure than those teams that have been there before, but every year we all have different teams, so the playing field is level now and we have just as much chance of winning as all the other schools,” he said.

He said the school has enlisted the help of local team owners and coaches in their preparations. “I know that the standard of football will be higher at the national finals and I want to make sure we are ready for it.”

The team won four games in the provincial finals, three of them on penalties, which shows they are able to operate under pressure, Nkwe said. “The level of football was high and competitive. Every school played their best as everyone wanted to win and get a chance to play for the trip to Brazil to play in the World Finals.

Nkwe’s strategy now is to focus on scoring goals and finding ways of controlling the boys’ nerves when they are playing in a different environment. The thought of going to Brazil, the football capital of the world, is very exciting for the boys and Nkwe believes they are up to the challenge and will do everything possible to make sure that they win the nationals and go to Brazil.

When asked what the boys wanted to see in Brazil it was the stadiums that caught their interest; “And meet the team they will be competing against in the Danone Nations Cup World Finals as, after all, Brazil has been the most successful country in terms of FIFA World Cup tournaments and it all starts from a young age and the boys are hoping to learn a trick or two from them,” Nkwe said.

Limpopo Provincial Finals Results
Chuchekani 5 vs Bonwankwe 0
Mashamba 1 vs Rev MP Malatjie 0
Kgwatlhele 0 vs Chuchekani 3
Bonwankwe 0 vs Mashamba 1
Rev MP Malatjie 3 vs Kgwatlhele 0
Chuchekani 2 vs Mashamba 1
Bonwankwe 0 vs Rev MP Malatjie 0 (Rev MP Malatjie won on penalties)
Mashamba 3 vs Kgwatlhele 0
Rev MP Malatjie 0 vs Chuchekani 0 (Rev MP Malatjie won on penalties)
Kgwatlhele 0 vs Bonwankwe 3

Final - Chuchekani 0 vs Rev MP Malatjie 0 (Rev MP Malatjie won on penalties)

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