Wednesday, May 20, 2015
First timers crowned the KwaZulu-Natal Danone Nations Cup Provincial champions
Mophela Primary School from the Pinetown District won the under-12 Danone Nations Cup KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals that took place at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium this past weekend. The school beat favourites, Mthethomusha Primary School 3-1 in the final match.
According to Danone Nations Cup ambassador and ex Bafana Bafana captain, Neil Tovey, who attended the tournament to talk to the players and give advice, the final match was a cracker with both teams evenly matched. “The teams that won through to the final match were very good. You could see they were well coached as they played with structure and their passes were good. This was pleasing to see as at this age often the players get caught up in the game and just chase the ball. Both these teams were able to play wide and the players had foresight.”
For Sydney Mkhize, Mophela’s team manager, the win was unexpected. “We have never played in this tournament before and I told the boys that they must look at the provincials as a learning experience, never dreaming we would win. The boys came together as a team, bonded well and had a positive attitude which I think played a crucial part in our success.”
Winning their first game 5 – 0 against Westville helped boost the players confidence, admits Mkhize. “From that point we knew that these games were going to be smooth sailing for us. I anticipated that the games were going to be extremely tough, especially against the four invitational teams as they do not compete in our tournaments and we had no idea what to expect.”
Mkhize highlighted Masihambisane and Mthethomusha as strong contenders. “Either of these schools could have won as they both had a strong side.”
The focus now will be on the nationals said Mkhize. “There will be no team changes as the boys are well balanced and they know and understand their way around the field. I am happy with the standard of football they portrayed on Saturday. Our focus now will be on the psychological aspect as we need to prepare the boys mentally as we know that the nationals will be a completely different ball game.
“I noticed in the final game, before we scored an equalizer, that the boys were playing with their hearts and emotions on the field. Some of the players had tears streaming down their faces while kicking and passing the ball, you could see that they wanted to win so badly. That’s not what we are trying to promote with these junior teams, we want them to know and understand that at the end of the day there will be winners and losers. Losing does not mean that you are a failure it only means that you need to work extra hard next time around,” said Mkhize.
Scouts from Sundowns, Amazulu FC and Golden Arrows attended the provincial finals over the weekend and Mkhize admits that negotiations are about to start with some of the players.
The week prior to the provincials the school invited Mabhuti Khanyeza, a striker from Golden Arrows, to the school to motivate the boys. “He told the boys to enjoy every game and to also make friends and then presented the school with a Golden Arrows jersey. The boys felt special which also helped us.” Said Mkhize.
The national finals will take place at Reiger Park, Gauteng on 27th June. The winner will travel to Morocco to compete in the World Finals happening later in the year.
Highbury Preparatory School 0 vs. Enhlabosini Primary School 2
Celimfundo Primary School 2 vs. Enkelabantwana Primary School 0
Machibini Primary School 2 vs. Pinetown Senior Primary School 0
Westville Senior Primary School 0 vs. Mophela Primary School 5
Ningizimu Primary School 0 vs. Sherwood Primary School 3
Phumza Primary School 0 vs. Masihambisane Primary School 1
Mthethomusha Primary School 1 vs. Dinuphoza Primary School 0
New Germany Primary School 0 vs. Emzweni Primary School 2
Enhlabosini Primary School 2 vs. Ningizimu Primary School 3
Enkelabantwana Primary School 0 vs. Phumza Primary School 1
Pinetown Senior Primary School 0 vs. Mthethomusha Primary School 2
Mophela Primary School 5 vs. New Germany Primary School 1
Sherwood Primary School 0 vs. Highbury Preparatory School 1
Masihambisane Primary School 0 (2) vs. Celimfundo Primary School 0 (1)
Dinuphoza Primary School 0 (2) vs. Machibini Primary School 0 (3)
Emzweni Primary School 0 (3) vs. Westville Senior Primary School 0 (1)
Highbury Preparatory School 0 vs. Ningizimu Primary School 2
Celimfundo Primary School 1 vs. Phumza Primary School 2
Machibini Primary School 0 vs. Mthethomusha Primary School 2
Westville Senior Primary School 0 (3) vs. New Germany Primary School 0 (2)
Enhlabosini Primary School 1 vs. Sherwood Primary School 0
Enkelabantwana Primary School 0 vs. Masihambisane Primary School 2
Pinetown Senior Primary School 1 vs. Dinuphoza Primary School 3
Mophela Primary School 2 vs. Emzweni Primary School 0
Ningizimu Primary School 0 (0) vs. Mophela Primary School 0 (2)
Semi Finals 2
Mthethomusha Primary School 2 vs. Masihambisane Primary School 0
Mophela Primary School 1 (3) vs. Mthethomusha Primary School 1 (1)
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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