Monday, May 18, 2015

Eastern Cape hosts their Danone Nations Cup Provincial Finals

When Zwelethu Mdedelwa, coach of the Lukholo Junior Secondary School’s under-12 soccer team, entered his side in this year’s Danone Nations Cup it was merely to give them a learning experience.

But, his young charges proved him wrong. They sailed through the qualification rounds and have made it into the Eastern Cape provincial finals for the second year in a row, and judging by their form they could well to through to the nationals, which they did not manage to do last year.

The finals are on 23rd May, at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium, East London, and Mdedelwa explains that they won all of their cluster and regional playoff games, scoring 12 goals in the cluster games and 21 at the regional playoffs.

“The boys proved to me that they can easily win the provincial finals this year, they are more dedicated and listen to every instruction,” he said. “This indicates that they are ready to compete and win the provincials.”

Mdedelwa has been at the school since 2012 and he has elevated sports participation there to the extent that they now play soccer, netball, softball, handball, cross country and recently introduced rugby as well;

“The kids need extracurricular activities to keep them active and healthy. More of them are signing up to participate in at least two different sporting codes which shows their dedication and interest in sport.”

While he believes it was a team effort that got them this far, the coach singles out striker, Aphiwe Dineka, who scored 6 goals in the cluster games and 8 at the district finals.

“He looks up to Amazulu striker Bongani Ndulula, and also want to be called “Ndulula”.  He even wears no 9 jersey just like his idol,” Mdedelwa said.  “If he continues to score goals like he has been  we are definitely in with a chance at reach the nationals.”

Training for the finals has been going well although there is the challenge of not getting enough training time with the boys.  “They live far from the school and we need to make sure that they arrive home safely,” Mdedelwa explains. “We have chatted to the parents and we have their full support.”

Coaching has always been a part of Mdedelwa’s life, although he has no formal qualifications. “I watch and read up on soccer continuously to keep my coaching current and give me insight as to how the sport is evolving,” he said. “If the kids are taught the basics properly it stands them in good stead for their future careers. ”

The teams participating in the Eastern Cape Provincial Finals are:
Lukholo JSS-Alfred Nzo District
Sterkspruit Community School-Joe Gqabi District
Charles Morgan Combined School-Amathole District
De Hoop Primary School-Chris Hani District
Bongweni Primary School-Cacadu District
Siyaphambili Primary School -Nelson Mandela Bay District
TBC-OR Tambo District

About Danone
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

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