Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Two weeks to go before Siphumelele Primary School leave for Brazil

In two weeks an under-12 soccer team from the small township of Inanda, Pinetown, KZN, Siphumelele Primary School, leaves for Brazil to embark on an experience of a life time.  The team will be competing with 31 other countries in the biggest football tournament for kids between the ages of 10 and 12 in the world, the Danone Nations Cup World Final.

The team won this trip after being crowned Danone Nations Cup South Africa champions, and this is the first time in the tournament’s 14 year history that a school from KwaZulu-Natal will be competing in the World Finals.

Health, nutrition and pleasure are at the heart of the reason Groupe Danone introduced the tournament to the world and for 12 year-old left-winger, Lindelani Radebe, who will be travelling with the team, the 40 000 units of Ultramel yoghurt and Muesli given to the school by Danone Southern Africa has done a lot to help prepare the team for this memorable experience.

Endorsing the message of developing a healthy lifestyle was former Bafana Bafana coach and current Danone Nations Cup Southern Africa ambassador, Neil Tovey, who visited the school recently.  “He told us how important nutrition is to a player and encouraged us to eat well.  Every day we get a box of the Danone yoghurt which we take home for breakfast the next day. I love Danone products, they are the best.”

Lindelani lives with his parents, an older brother and youngster sister in Inanda.  His father is a baker at the local supermarket and his mother is a cook.  He credits his mother in particular for contributing to where he is today.  “She gives me good advice, helps with my homework and is so supportive of me.  I am the first family member to travel on a plane and she is so excited for me.  She really is helping calm my nerves.”

Lindelani’s brother, Sandile; has been his soccer inspiration. “I used to watch him play with his friends. He taught me to play and at the age of 6 years I joined a team called Inanda Stars. I am still a part of the team. We have participated in a lot of tournaments and have travelled around Durban competing. We have won soccer kit, trophies and medals. It’s a great club and they treat their players very well, they have respect for all of us regardless of the age difference.”

Preparations for Brazil are going well said the youngster.  “We are working very hard at the moment. We train for two hours every day under our new coach Mr Yengwa. He has been great. He is teaching us to concentrate on the basic skills, passing a ball, defending and attacking,” Lindelani said.

It’s getting close now and their coach is stressing the mental side of the game. “He tells us to be focused and play to the best of our ability and that we should not be intimidated when playing against other countries,” Lindelani said.

Winning the Danone Nations Cup national finals in June is his happiest memory to date. “We trained very hard and winning the tournament was what we wanted.  I was not part of the team last year and we didn’t win, so this year was my chance to make sure that the school wins because next year I won’t eligible to participate,” he said.

For Lindelani, playing soccer is what makes him happy. “I love soccer because when I am angry I take my ball and start playing soccer either with friends or by myself. It calms me down.”

Getting to know Lesedi
Favourite food - I love all types of food, but I’m a bit nervous that I won’t like the food in Brazil
Favourite subject - English and Natural Sciences
Favourite soccer player - Steven Pienaar, he is a South African player who has made a name for himself internationally, that’s what I want for myself
Favourite SA team - Mamelodi Sundowns
Hobby - I don’t have one, I’m too busy playing soccer all the time
What would you like to do after school – playing soccer professionally is my number one goal

Message to your team mates - I want all of us to have fun and enjoy Brazil, we will never ever get this opportunity again which is why we should take it all in and have fun.

About Danone
Danone Southern Africa is part of the Danone Group, one of the fastest-growing food companies in the world.  Danone is present in over 120 countries across all continents. With 160 plants and around 100,000 employees, the Danone Group is the number one worldwide for Fresh Dairy Products. Danone’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible.
One of the core values of the Danone Nations Cup tournament is to encourage young people to believe in their dreams. Through this initiative Danone offers a sporting event that reaches out to and inspires millions of children all over the world

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