Thursday, September 4, 2014

Western Cape School qualifies for the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup provincial final for the first time.

For Qhayiya Secondary School from the Overberg District, Saturday’s (6 September) Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Western Cape provincial final is an opportunity to raise their level of participation in the competition and, hopefully qualify for the national finals for the first time. The six regional finals will battle it out for the R100 000 prize money at the Blue Downs stadium, Cape Town with games kicking-off at 9am.

Nkosinathi Joja the school’s sport coordinator and coach of the team, explained that they have been in the provincial finals every year since 2011, but progressing further than that has been a challenge. “I’m hoping the experience we have playing at this level is going to help us, and we are working very hard to make sure this is our year,” he said.

The coach has put a lot of emphasis on defence in their preparations. “I think that our 2013 failure was due to our defence not being tight enough,” he said. “That’s why this year my main focus has been tightening up our back line and making sure that our defenders are focused.”

In the run-up to the provincial finals, Joja believes, the win over Umyeza Secondary School was crucial. “We had lost to them earlier, but showed in the second round that we don’t go down without a fight. The current team is committed, they truly want to win this tournament for the school and they are willing to put in the extra time to make sure that they do so.”

Having to share the community soccer field to train has been a major challenge to the team.  “We sometimes have to wait our turn to train, but we try our best to make sure that we get in extra training on weekends,” Joja said.

Joja has a level 1 coaching qualification and a certificate in administration. “Getting a qualification has had a huge impact into how I coach, how I set up a team and how I strategise for an important game,” he said. “It’s about going back to the basics to groom a player or a team.”

He is not afraid to ask for help and has brought in some ex-players to assist with the team’s preparations. One in particular, Masixole Nqoshane has been of great help.

“He is a talented mid-fielder who has played for the Western Cape under-21 team,” Joja explains. He has given the players advice on what it’s like to play at a higher level. It helps bringing in someone who is closer to the age of the players, and who used to play for the school, they respect him and what he has to share with them.”

Every year the competition keeps getting tougher and tougher, Moja said and he realises the importance of creating chances and converting them into goals. “Winning our first game at the provincial finals is crucial because it will pave the way for the games that follow. Our strikers have been doing great in the games that we have played leading up to the provincials and I know that they will continue the momentum.”

Moja is wary of last year’s winner, Mondale, who has also qualified for the provincial finals. “They will be coming back to defend their title and will be fighting hard to make sure that they retain it. But we are prepared to fight for what we want and I have faith that my team will win the provincials this year,” he said.

In 2012 the school introduced the Qhayiya School Sports Awards, recognising and acknowledging students that participate in the various sporting codes. Two of this year’s team, midfielder Zuko Jozi – their 2013 footballer of the year – and striker Babalo Mqwayi have received awards in the past. “This inspires other students to participate and be dedicated in their respective sporting codes,” Joja concluded.

Participating Teams - Venue: Blue Downs Stadium, Saturday 6th September
·         Qhayiya Secondary School-Overberg District
·         Thembalethu High-Eden District
·         Beaufort West Secondary School-Central Karoo District
·         Mondale High School n- Cape Town District
·         TBC-Wine lands District
·         Louwville High School -West Coast District

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