Thursday, October 9, 2014

Top players from KZN, Northern Cape and Gauteng talk of their Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup experience

The national finals of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup tournament are under way at the Giant Stadium in Soshanguve bringing together over 300 of the top under-19 players in the land.

The consensus among the players is that it’s a great privilege to be here, and they are hoping to be spotted by the scouts of the professional clubs that are present at the event.

17 year-old Sphamandla Maxse is from Tholokuhle High School, the Kwazulu-Natal representatives. They beat Umqhele High School in the KZN provincial finals and Sphamandla said that was the game he remembers best out of all of those they played on their way to the national finals.

“That was one tough game but we rose to occasion and we beat them,” he said. “I think Umqhele is one of the strongest teams here and I am sure they are going to do well.”

Sphamandla started playing soccer at the age of 10. He was influenced by Mr Muntu Dladla who owns the club team he still plays for, Happy Stars.

“ Mr Dladla personally asked me to join his team, which I did and am still there today,” he said “We have won a lot of local tournaments around Nseleni township , our team is one of the best in our township.”

Sphamandla has not watched many of the other teams in action at the finals, as the team is focusing on their own games. “I cannot say who will be the most competitive so we will take it one step at a time. One thing is for sure, we are going to fight hard,” he said.

He said he is enjoying the interaction with the other teams in Pretoria this week, and is looking forward to making friends. “Tholokuhle has become very close to Umqhele because we travelled together on the bus and we have become friends with their players.”

Rimano Titus is captain of the AJ Ferreira team, representing Northern  Cape at the tournament.  This is his first visit to Gauteng and he is loving it. “It’s been a great experience,” he said. “We have met other players from other provinces and I’m sure by the end of the tournament we would have made new friends. I’m happy to be here because I know that scouts will be watching us, I just hope I will do enough to impress them.”

Soccer came naturally to Rimano. He has always loved the sport and played in the streets with his friends every day after school and on weekends. At the age of 11 years he joined Benfica FC in Rosedale and was there for 6 years before going across to Morester Jeug this year where, he says, his game has improved a lot.

AJ Ferreira only played 2 games to qualify for the provincials, winning them both.  They then went on to beat Okiep 3 - 0 in the provincial finals, which Rimo said was the highlight of the tournament for him.  “Beating the reigning champions to get into the nationals was a great feeling.”.

Marcel Luck is a striker from Holy Trinity High School, the Gauteng champions. Soccer runs in his family, his father Gerhard Luck was a professional soccer player in Germany. “We moved back to Port Elizabeth and my father has been teaching me and pushing me to succeed in soccer and I thank him for that.”

“At the age of 13 I joined Kellis FC in PE and also played for my school, St Dominics Primary School. In 2011 I was selected to go play for the Eastern Cape provincial team and it is there when I was scouted by Kwanele Kopo from SuperSport United and invited to join their academy in 2012.

“That  was a great career move as I have learnt a lot and one day I want to be a professional soccer player and play for Supersport FC.”

This is his 1st time in the tournament and he is loving everything about it. “I think that beating the national champions, Clapham, was a good morale booster for the team. They fought really hard but we were more prepared, I think that the team has been performing very well we are a united front.”

Marcel said he wishes all the schools luck for the games ahead. “We have all come from far and we should see being part of the nationals a great achievement because not every school gets this opportunity.”

Marcel Luck-Holy Trinity High School

Rimano Titus-AJ Ferreira High School

Sphamandla Maxase-Tholokuhle High School

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