Friday, April 24, 2015

Mpumalanga Primary School coach is preparing his team for the Danone Nations Cup provincial finals.

Coaching at the under-12 level is crucial in the lives of any potential professional soccer player and requires dedication, repetition, the ability to understand every player and most importantly to instil the love of the game.

This is the view of manager/coach, Jabulani Bhima of Dumelani Primary School of the Nkangala District, KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga whose youngsters have won through to the provincial finals of the Danone Nations Cup happening at the Themba Senamela Stadium, Middelburg on 9th May.  The school has reached this level on two previous occasions, 2011 and 2013, but never progressed through to the nationals and are hoping that it will be third time lucky this year.

“The Danone Nations Cup is an extremely important tournament for these young kids,” said Bhima.  “We use the tournament as a catalyst to bring change into their lives. We want them to be sociable, confidant and to interact with kids from all over South Africa,” he said.

Bhima started teaching at the school in 1992 and began coaching soccer in 1994. He has an introductory certificate in coaching and attends coaching clinics whenever he can.

“I think having experience and a qualification in soccer go hand in hand, in that way you are able to understand the game practically and theoretically,” he said. “That’s how I coach my team, there’s theory and after that we do the practical on the field. I measure my success as a coach by how they are able to translate the theory into practice on the pitch.”

The players are still young and don’t know much about soccer at this stage, so the coach says he concentrates on the basics. “They need to be able to know when to defend, attack, mark and shoot.  Once a player knows the basics it makes our jobs as coaches much easier,” he said.

At the same time, it’s important as a coach not to be hard on your players. “These are kids and even though we are participating in competitions, we still need to stress the importance of having fun and playing to gain experience,” Bhima said.

Although they still have to win the provincial title, they are already started preparing for the nationals, that’s how determined they are, Bhima said. “We are fortunate to have support from the parents, the SGB, the principal Mrs Eva Maluleka and the community at large. Some parents have indicated that they will travel with us to support their kids and we welcome their support.”

Bhima is still to establish who his competition will be as the other regions are still playing their regional games.

Teams competing:
Maminza Primary School- Ehlanzeni District
Daniye Primary School- Bohlabela District
Dumelani Primary School-Nkangala District
TBC-Gert Sibande District 

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