Friday, March 20, 2015
Road to the Danone Nations Cup World Finals has begun in the Northern Cape
The under-12 school that will represent the Northern Cape at the Danone Nations Cup national finals will be known on Saturday, 28 March, when the six regional finalists battle it out at the Xolisile Dicky Jacobs Stadium in Upington. The ultimate prize is a chance to compete against 31 other nations at the World Finals taking place in Morocco.
Last year’s provincial champions, Roodepan Primary School, are back in action for the second time and according to team manager Enricho Chapman, winning the provincials again this year is not going to be easy.
“It helps that we have won the provincials before, and some of our players will have the experience of competing at the national finals, but we know how tough and competitive the provincials are. We do not know the strength of our competitors but we know for sure that all the schools will be looking to take our title and we need to do everything possible to make sure that we defend it,” he said.
This year the team has a new coach, Christopher Jafta. “He has an introductory coaching qualification, and has been coaching for 10 years,” Chapman said. “I think getting an external coach was a great move for the team. He is putting 100% into coaching as opposed to getting a teacher at the school to coach the team. Since he took ever at the beginning of the year we have seen dramatic improvements with the team as a whole. The boys are more structured and uniform now, compared to previous years where they were all over the place.”
Chapman said that managing and coaching a team, especially a younger team is challenging. “The boys are still in the development phase. Every year we have to start from the basics. Most of the players might know how to kick a ball but that does not mean that they know how to play soccer.”
Preparations for the provincials started as soon as they started playing their cluster games, Chapman said. “Every game we play in this tournament is preparing us for the next level. Currently we train 5 times a week. We won’t be playing any friendly games prior to the provincials as we don’t want to risk any injuries a week before the provincials. The boys know what is expected of them, they want to go to Gauteng and represent Northern Cape just like last year.”
Chapman believes that having a happy team even if they lose or win, makes the tournament much more fun and exciting. “We need to make sure the kids understand that it’s not always all about winning, but about making new experiences, meeting new friends and exploring new places they have never been to before.”
This year’s team is inspired by the excitement they saw from the 2014 side that went to Gauteng for the national finals. “I know that some of the kids have never been outside of Northern Cape, so I know that they will enjoy travelling with their team mates to another province,” Chapman said.
It also helps to tell the players that when they get to the provincials in Gauteng they will be able to eat as much of the Danone products as they like.
“Not many companies plough back to the communities that support them the way Danone has. They are giving these kids the chance of being discovered by scouts and a chance to travel around South Africa and internationally I am very thankful to Danone for getting involved in sports and makings sure that our kids stay active and healthy.”
ZF Mgcawu District - Keidebees Primary School
Pixley District - Van Rensburg Primary School
Francis Baard District - Roodepan Primary School
John Taole Gaetsewe District - Rapelang Primary School
Namakwa District - TBC