Thursday, June 12, 2014

Champions, Clapham, win through to the under-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Inter district finals

Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup defending champions Clapham High School are safely through to the inter district stage of this year’s competition after winning the Tshwane North district finals.

While team manager, Johannes Petje, is happy with the way the tournament is progressing, he cautions that there are a couple of areas that need to be improved upon prior to the inter district finals, taking place on 24 and 25 July. “The team is a balance between new and old players,” he said. “We are tactically more advanced than other schools, but still need to adjust to playing four games in one day as we do in the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup.”

Petje admits that most schools are nervous when they play against Clapham as they are the champions, but says the games have been challenging.

There are a number of players; Petje believes could shine in the competition.  “Sihle Mbhele (midfielder), Motsi Matima (midfielder) and Ntando Ngubane (striker), are all part of the Sundowns Academy team and are players to watch out for,” he said.

“Then there is Siphelele Khebetsi, who has been exceptional this year.  “He is a striker that makes things happen.  He holds the team together and is a very influential player. His style of play is similar to Percy Tau and I predict he will make waves in this tournament.”

Added to those players are some recruited into the school team after the Mamelodi Sundowns camp at the end of last year. “Tami Mpusana and Ofentse Motlhanke were both from Louis Botha, Kableo Mabasa from Harmony High and Jason Skippers from Cloetesville have joined our team this year,” Petje said. “Their performance is great, they are doing the team proud and I hope that they continue doing so,”

Rhulani Mokoena is still the head coach of the team, and they have added an assistant coach in Mike Manzini, a former footballer for Mamelodi Sundowns. “He brings in his expertise and knowledge,” Petje said. “I believe that he and Rhulani together make a great team and they will take the current squad to new heights.”

The partnership between the school and Mamelodi Sundowns has benefited the school immensely says Petje. “Since they have come on board it has had a positive effect on every sporting codes as all kids want to excel in their  respective sports and they also want recognition just like the soccer team had last year. It has boosted participation in sport this year.”

Clapham won the R1.1 million 2013 first prize, as well as R100 000 as provincial champions, and are currently finalising their wish lists on how they want to spend their winnings.

About the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup:
·           The tournament is run under the auspices of the South Africa Football Association (SASFA)
   Named after prominent businessman Patrice Motsepe’s late mother, the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup offers the biggest prize money at school level in Africa (R3.4 million in total). 
·           The sponsors are:  Sanlam, the Motsepe Foundation and the Sanlam Ubuntu-Botho Community Development Trust.
·           The primary objective of the tournament is to revive the culture of school football amongst students between the age of 16 and 19 years old.

·           The tournament also gives players the opportunity to showcase their skills to soccer scouts with the talented players being recruited into development structures to be nurtured and shaped into professional players.

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