Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sandton School registers for the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup again!

When the Johannesburg East cluster games in the under-19 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, sponsored by Sanlam and the Motsepe Foundation, gets going on 14th April, it’s going to be a new experience for Wendywood High School.

This is the first year in the soccer tournament for the school and, according to Mrs Keitumetsi Makola, sports director at the school and the team’s manager, the feeling was that, although the school has been playing soccer for many years, it was time to participate in a structured tournament.

“In the past we participated in our local league tournament only,” Makola said. “Participating in this tournament will definitely give the boys experience and it will expose them to endless possibilities. It’s our duty as teachers and coaches to help these kids get discovered by professional teams.”

As newcomers, Makola accepts that this year will be a learning phase for them. “We are not expecting major success from the team during this tournament,” she said. “We are a relatively small team with players aged 17, we only have one player who is 18 years old. That’s a disadvantage because most schools have 18 or 19 year olds playing for them,”

With that said, it does not mean that they don’t have their sights set on moving higher than the cluster level.  “The team trains twice a week and plays two friendly games each week,” Makola explained. “We are doing everything we can to make sure that the players are fit and ready for the games ahead.”

The schools Wendywood will meet in their cluster games are the same ones they play in their local league and, having won that league twice, they are confident, going into the competition.

“But, we are new in this tournament and I know how competitive it is so we are not putting pressure on the team at all. We just want the team to familiarise themselves with the level of competitiveness of this tournament,” Makola said. “We obviously want them to play their best and not back down, but we also have to take into consideration that experience plays a huge role.”

Makola has been following the tournament in previous years and she has told the team that this soccer tournament is the highest in schools sport.  This is where players get scouted, where they get to compete with the best. “Since 2011 the tournament has been won by academies, that alone shows how tough the tournament is,” she said.

The team is coached by Mxolisi Mhlungu, who is a SAFA qualified coach and has been with the school for a number of years now. “He has a very good relationship with the players and his selection policy of selecting younger players and developing them will pay off in the long run,” Makola said.

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