Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup games begin in Free State's Virginia Region

Harmony High School of Virginia in the Free State is the most successful team in the history of the under-19 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition, sponsored by Sanlam and the Motsepe Foundation having won a staggering R2.7 million over the past 5 years. Since 2010 the school has won the national title, finished second, third and fourth places. 

Only once – in 2013 – were they not Free State provincial champions after being beaten by Bloemfontein’s HTS Louis Botha. 

Their 2015 campaign begins on Saturday 18th April, on their home field, when the Virginia Cluster games in the Lejweleputswa District will take place with four other teams including:  Marematlou, Mamello, Meloding and Reatlehile High Schools.

Hector Mokhali, Harmony’s team manager, says that although they meet the same schools at cluster level every year, and they have always beaten them, they are not complacent.  “We know that we are the most targeted team in the tournament. All schools want to win and progress through to the next round.  We have to work hard to ensure that we win,” he said.

Mokhali explains that, while they make sure that they don’t put pressure on the team to exceed the previous year’s side, pressure is self-inflicted. “It’s more a case of wanting to prove a point and show to us that they can also win the tournament and play better than the previous teams,” he said.

“I think that having pressure is a good thing for the players because it stops them from becoming complacent and drives them to achieve more.”

The Harmony Sports Academy was established in 2004, Mokhali explained. “We were inspired by the talent that Free State has and we wanted to give the players a chance to be exposed to a higher level of soccer. We are the only Academy in Free State and we source our players all over the province. We hold trials in December and usually look for 14 and 15 year- olds.

“We groom them for 5 years, and after they have completed their Grade 12 they get released from the Academy but we do try and place them with professional teams. Not all of them get to make,” he explains.

Mokhali says the team is ready for the games this week.  “Our advantage is that the players live in the boarding houses and training doesn’t stop when the schools are on holiday. We train every day, coach Pitso Mokoena has been working very hard with the team.  We still have 13 players from last year’s team, so we didn’t bring in a lot of new players. The boys know the mistakes they made during last year’s national finals.”

It’s just the first step and Mokhali said they are looking forward to meeting HTS Louis Botha. “They are a strong team and the one to beat to win the R100 000 provincial winnings again. ”

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