Thursday, May 14, 2015
Eastern Cape host first Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Regional Final
Port Elizabeth’s Walmer High School will be hosting the Nelson Mandela Bay’s under-19 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, sponsored by the Motsepe Foundation and Sanlam, regional final on Saturday, 16th May to identify the school that will represent the region in the Eastern Cape provincial finals happening later in the year.
Walmer came second in the provincial finals last year and went to the national finals for the first time. It’s an achievement they hope to repeat this year, according to team manager, Lunga Lloyd.
Being located in Port Elizabeth, where there is only one top professional club – Chippa United – means that talented young players from the region have limited opportunities and so it’s important for them to be exposed to scouts from the big clubs at an event like the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, Lloyd believes.
“This year is the third year our school has been involved in this competition and, while we didn’t expect to make the nationals last year, it was a huge achievement for the school, and we are working hard to be there again this year,” he said.
There are 7 players from last year’s team still eligible to participate in the tournament, which makes quite an experienced team believes Lloyd.
The team is coached by Lloyd and Mr Nkani, another teacher at the school, with the help of Mutaba Sina, a qualified coach who works with various soccer clubs in the area. “Sina has been with the school for a while now and we appreciate his efforts. He shares the same passion as me and wants to see these boys reach their full potential,” Lloyd said. “We are happy to have him back again this year.”
Although the players are used to competing with other local clubs around Walmer, they battled at the national finals last year because they don’t play as much competitive soccer as the other teams at the nationals.
“The boys really had a hard time at the nationals and were surprised at the high level of school soccer at that level,” Lloyd said. “It definitely was a learning curve for the players in all aspects: experiencing a hotel for the first time, the food they were given and living with the teams from different provinces, was a lot for them to take in.”
This year, the team played 3 games in their cluster to qualify for the regional play offs. It’s a small cluster, Lloyd says, and it was easy to win through. “Now, the only planning we can do from our side is to make sure that the team is fit and ready to play on Saturday. We have been training hard with the team and what also helps is that a lot of the boys play for local clubs where most of the hard training is done and skills practised.” Most of the other clusters are still busy playing qualifiers so Lloyd as yet doesn’t know who their competitors will be.