Thursday, March 12, 2015

Limpopo School progresses in the 2015 Danone Nations Cup

Benny’s Sports Development Academy of the Vhembe District, Makhado in Limpopo are about to enter the inter-circuit phase of the under-12 Danone Nations Cup soccer competition and, under new coach, Mbishi Mokoena, they are confident of going far in the competition this year.

Benny’s have been playing in the tournament since 2010 and only once – in 2013 – did they get as far as the district finals.

What has changed this year is the school has appointed a specialist coach to take care of the junior players (in the past they had one coach for all the age groups).

Mbishi Mokoena will take care of the under-12, under-13 and under-14 teams at the school, and has already made a difference with the under-12s, who won their zonal games quite easily, scoring seven goals in one of them.

The new coach has been impressed with his players so far. “Andries Mokgwethega has scored 3 goals out of the 8 the team scored so far, and we also have Tshimagatdzo Mokwevho. He only scored 1 goal but he assisted other players to score. I believe that those players will take the team to the nationals,” he said.

Mokoena believes passion is the key to being a successful coach. “Coaching is not just instructing players on the field, it’s about building and maintaining a relationship with different players,” he said. “You need to have the heart for it.”

Skills and experience are also required. “You need to have experienced playing soccer in order to be a coach. You can’t teach players something you don’t know about.”

While this is Mokoena’s first time coaching the under-12 team, he has done his homework before entering the Danone Nations Cup.   “I had the opportunity of watching last year’s under-12 team play and I noticed that they lacked the basics and the team was all over the field with no structure. This year we have gone back to the basics of soccer. The team has since grasped the concept and I have definitely seen a change in them. “

The challenge for Mokoena is the different roles he has to play. “The players are all boarding at the school and don’t have their parents around them, so I have to be a father figure to all of them at the same time. It’s an adjustment for me, but I am gradually getting used to the fact that I have to play different roles to the boys.”

Mokoena said the reason he got involved in coaching was to develop and nature young players’ talents and he wants to be known for developing some of the best players in the world. “I don’t see myself coaching a PSL team, I see myself coaching internationally recognised academies. 10 years from now I still want to be focussing on the development phase in soccer, coaching u-13. I believe that age group is open and willing to learn as opposed to older players who think they know everything about soccer “

Mokoena got his players to Google the Danone Nations Cup Soccer Tournament to find out more about it and to see what it is they are playing for.

“When they saw what last’s year’s winners experienced, it got them more and more excited about winning this tournament. I think that Danone is doing a great job in giving these players a chance to travel to in different parts of the world and to play a sport that they love.”

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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