Monday, July 14, 2014
Pinetown school takes a step closer to winning the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup
Umqhele Secondary School of Clermont are the Pinetown District winners of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup soccer competition and are looking to repeat the feats of the school’s 2011 team that won KwaZulu-Natal provincial title.
It has not been easy says assistant coach and team manager, Phenduka Mkhwanazi. “All games we played were extremely challenging,” he said. “We are based in a small area and play against the same schools every year so we all know each other’s weaknesses and their strengths. But we won all five scheduled games so we are on track and will hopefully reach our goal, which is to win the KZN provincial finals.”
The team has been on an extensive training programme for the entire year, Mkhwanazi said as they need to be physically fit and are able to keep up with the other teams’ performance levels. Further, he has also introduced regular team talks. “I am a firm believer in having team talks as this is where the players can share their thoughts and visions. We have team talks before and after every game to strategise and then to recap.”
The team has been impressive in scoring goals so far. “The most impressive game was when we beat Buhlebemfundo Secondary 7-0 which is our highest score to date in this tournament.”
Umqhele is boosted by three players that are affiliated to the Amazulu FC youth development team (Durban Warriors). Striker, Linda Bhengu and was part of the SA under-20 national team that played against Ethiopia earlier this year.
Mkhwanazi said he is going to be a key player, going forward, as are defender Zanyiso Zungu and striker Phiwayinkosi Lukhele, the other players who are with Amazulu.
Mkhwanazi is also the football development officer in Clermont, and has been involved in soccer for a number of years. He says his main aim is to help talented soccer players from KZN reach the professional level and play for PSL teams.
The Umqhele team is coached by Sthembiso Ntuli who is not a teacher at the school. He has a level 1 qualification, and has been coaching for many years. “He has the skills to take the team to great heights,” Mkhwanazi said.
Mkhwanazi thinks it’s great to have the academy schools on board as they bring a new element to the tournament and the boys can learn a thing or two from them. “We try to run our team like an academy, our players live in the school boarding facilities, so they are together all the time, they are a unified team and work very well together. We try our best to make sure that they get matching tracksuits and soccer boots, the school does a lot of fund raising to support them.”
There is R100 000 up for grabs for the provincial winners in the competition and, should Umqhele win it, the school will repair the classrooms that have broken windows and doors, they would like to add mobile classes as they are getting more and more students every year. “The school also needs a Mini Taxi that will be used to transport players to and from games, transportation is one of the problems that we have at the school,” he said. “We would also use some of the money to assist with the day to day running of the boarding facility.”
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.