Friday, August 1, 2014

Limpopo Province to host their Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Provincial Finals

When Matanta Secondary School, from the remote village of Pia in Limpopo’s Waterberg district, runs out for the provincial finals of this year’s Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition at the Seshego Stadium in Polokwane on the 9th of August, it will be the realisation of a dream for the school and its coach, David Mashilo.

The school has been playing in the competition for many years, but has never progressed past the cluster level as the odds have been stacked against them. The players largely come from very disadvantaged families with no money for boots and kit, and the school’s field is little more than a piece of open field.

“This is a first for the school and we have come this far through hard work and pure determination,” Mashilo said. “The entire team is totally new to the tournament, even though they don’t have the experience they still managed to win the Waterberg district. I believe that they have what it takes to win the provincial title, their track record speaks for itself. This year we have not lost a single game despite the challenges that we encountered. It goes to show that the team is focused and they are going for what they want which is to win the tournament,” he said.

The coach realises there are challenges lying ahead. “The school had to organise a fund-raising drive to buy the 1st team players new soccer boots. The boys really appreciated that and they know that they need to work harder to make sure that they win the R100 000 in prize money that is up for grabs at the provincial finals.”

Matanta is a team that does not go down without a fight, Mashilo said, so the other schools should expect competitive football . “We have a variety of talented players that are eager to shine and showcase their talent to anyone who is willing to watch them. I tell them to play their best at all times, because they never know when an opportunity will strike.”

 Because this is their first time at the provincial finals level, it’s going to be difficult, Mashilo knows. “We have no previous experience to help us strategise for the provincial finals so we just have to focus hard on training and building the team’s strengths. Football is all about pace and stamina, so I try to include speed in all exercises that we do.”

Mashilo has been coaching for the past seven years at Matanta. The current first team is made up of players from the under-16 team of 2 years ago. “I have been coaching them since they were 16 years old. They are familiar with my style and they know and understand my approach.”

There are four outstanding players that the teams will be looking to in the finals. “Glen Nkwana, Johannes Molekwa, Elliot Ramalebele and Ronny Magamatlo have not let us down all year, they deserve to be seen by scouts,” Mashilo said. “They are young boys but play like professional soccer players, the clubs must be on the lookout for them.”

 If the school were to win the R100 000, the projects they would like to fund include buying soccer balls, boots and training equipment that will enhance the team’s performance. “If there’s still money left; then I think that we should start working on the school sports field,” Mashilo said.

There will be five schools competing for the Limpopo provincial title.  Some regions will be playing their inter-district finals this week but one of the schools that Matanta Secondary will be playing against is Khaiso High School from the Capricorn district.


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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