Friday, June 13, 2014

KZN schools start qualifying for the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup provincial finals

Hillview Secondary School of Newlands East in Durban are the under-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Umlazi district winners and have qualified to play in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals, hoping to get the R100 000 that goes with winning the title.

The 2014 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup soccer tournament is well underway with a record 4 000 schools in action at cluster and regional levels.  All want to win a portion of the R3.4 million on offer in prize money.

Hillview will be participating in the tournament for the third time and this will be the second time they have come this far. “In 2012 we reached the provincial finals, but were knocked out, and last year we were knocked out early in the competition. Hopefully this year we will take it a step further and win through to the national finals, but I know this will not be easy,” said manager/coach, Ben Moodley.  He believes his team’s success to date this season is due to all players competing for local clubs in the community.

What has also driven the players to do well is the fact that they know that scouts attend the provincial finals and they know this will be their chance to be seen.  “None of them are with academies, but there are a couple that I believe have exceptional skills and could go far under correct coaching guidance,” said Moodley, who has no coaching qualifications and relies on reading books and watching soccer, either live or on television.

Over the past few years the tournament has been dominated by academies, but this does not worry Moodley. “We will tackle the academies like any other school,” he said.  “Every year it gets tougher and tougher to maintain your position in the tournament and this is purely due to sponsors such as Sanlam and the Motsepe Foundation, together with the South African Schools Football Association, who provide the platform for schools to promote themselves so we all go that extra mile to improve the team to gain that competitive edge.”

The 2014 Hillview team consists mainly of new players, but they have four back from last year of which two will play a key role in the team.  “My striker and captain, Sabelo Mqune, and midfielder, Leon Abrahams are quick with their feet, and their passing skills are accurate. Their future in soccer is looking bright but they just need a little bit of grooming. They have been instrumental in the team’s

success in this tournament. Their experience is valuable because we have a number of under-17 players in the team.”

Fitness is key to the success of the team in the provincial finals believes Moodley.  “At the provincials we will be playing a lot of games on a day so the team’s fitness levels are crucial.  So, we have been doing sprints, power work, agility and speed training to ensure that the boys are fit enough for the tournament. I had to research exercise programs that focus entirely on fitness to make sure that happens.”

The first Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup provincial final will take place at the Giant Stadium in Soshanguve on Saturday, 2 August 2014. 

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