Monday, May 11, 2015
A woman making an impact in the world of soccer at the Danone Nations Cup
When Machibini Primary School of Mtubatuba run onto the field for the KwaZulu-Natal provincial playoffs of the under-12 Danone Nations Cup competition, at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Saturday May 16th, they will have, in their technical area, have Mrs Happiness Mchunu as team manager.
Happiness is remarkable not only because she is a woman making an impact in the man’s world of soccer, but also because she, almost single-handedly, got sport established at the school.
When she started teaching at the school in 2004 they didn’t do any sport at all so, because she loves sport, she decided to get it going. Now they participate in athletics and soccer and are working towards adding other codes.
She entered the school in the in the Danone Nations Cup for the first time last year and to their surprise they made it into the provincial finals at their first attempt. “We didn’t expect to reach that level and were pleasantly surprised at our success,” she said.
Happiness gives credit for making it to the finals again this year to the boys. “When a coach has a committed team, anything is possible,” she said. “Last year we managed to reach the provincials, beating schools that are regulars in this tournament, it shows that the team and I were committed to making a success out of this tournament. I instil in the boys that they need to be passionate about the sport- play soccer because you love it and it’s what you want to do,” is her advice.
Her love for soccer comes from being an avid fan. “I love the game and have been a dedicated follower all my life. I watch local and international soccer. My favourite team locally is Orlando Pirates and Internationally it’s Chelsea FC, who have just won the English Premiership.”
This year she is the manager of the team as the school has acquired the services of Lungani Biyela as a coach. He joined the school this year and they have been working closely together.
“We don’t have a lot of female coaches in South Africa and my goal is to eventually be a qualified coach, but still remain involved in soccer development focusing in rural areas,” Mchunu said.
On their way to the provincial finals Machibini played a total of 22 games – at zonal, circuit and district level – and won them all. “It was not an easy road for us, making it into the provincials is a very big deal for us and we consider it a huge achievement for the team,” Mchunu said.
“Our defining moment was when we played our district finals game against Hluhluwe Primary School. They were the host team and the stadium was filled with their supporters, but we pulled through and we beat them 3-0. That has been our best game to date this year.”
The teams participating in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals are:
Masihambisane Primary School - Amajuba District
Dinuphozo Primary School - ILembe District
Mthethousha Primary School - UMgungundlovu District
Nkelabantwana Primary School - Sisonke District
Celimfundo Primary School - UThukela District
Phumza Primary School - UGu District
Mzweni Primary School - UMzinyathi District
Nhlabonisi Primary School - UThungulu District
Sherwood Primary School - EThekwini District
Mophela Primary School - Pinetown District
Ningizimu Primary School - Zululand District
Machibini Primary School - UMkhanyakude District
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