Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Third time lucky for Eastern Cape Danone Nations Cup Provincial Champions

It was a case of third time lucky for Mbizana’s Lukholo Junior Secondary School when they took the title at the Eastern Cape under-12 Danone Nations Cup champions last weekend.

The school has made it through to this stage of the competition before, only to be eliminated, but it was different this time, and they will be travelling to Gauteng in June to play in the national finals of the competition.

Zwelethu Mdedelwa, the coach of the team, wasn’t confident the team would even get to the provincials, but the boys proved him wrong.  “We were well prepared and I had a bit of hope and was surprised at how easy the passage turned out to be.  We scored 10 goals and conceded just 3, and no team threatened us,” he said. “The team played exceptionally well, they listened to all my instructions. I’m proud of the boys, even if we don’t come out as National winners come the 27th of June.”

The strategy going into the provincials was to keep possession at all times, use the entire field, and take their scoring chances said Mdedelwa. “I always stress the importance of discipline to the team,” he said. “I tell the players to play by the rules and always accept the referee’s decisions. That’s how you produce players that are disciplined.”

The plan for the nationals is to continue with the same strategy that won the team the provincial title. “I don’t want to confuse the team, they are comfortable with how things have been done so far,” Mdedelwa said.

The coach sees the biggest threat coming from Gauteng. “They have better infrastructure and qualified coaches, but I always tell the team that when two teams are on the field it does not matter where they come from, what matters is how the teams play.”

The nationals will be tough, Mdedelwa knows. “The best 9 schools will be competing and all of the teams will have the same goal and that is to go to Morocco and represent South Africa. I definitely want my school to be the one. The last time we had a school from Eastern Cape representing South Africa was back in 2011. We won’t let the fact that we come from a very rural area deter us from our goal.”

Although every player is important to the team, Mdedelwa singles out his captain, Mava Mbokotho, as a key player. “He led the team to victory, the players respect him and listen to him at all times, he is a very dedicated player,” he said.  “Since giving him the captain’s armband he has never proved me wrong.  He relates very well with his teammates.”

Results of Eastern Cape Provincial Finals
Lukholo JSS 1 Charles Morgan 0
De Hoop Primary 0 Sterkspruit 1
Bhongweni Primary 1 Qumbu Village 0
Lukholo JSS 3 De Hoop Primary 0
Charles Morgan 0 Sterkspruit 0 (Charles Morgan won on penalties)
Qumbu Village 0 Siyaphambili 0 (Qumbu Village)
Sterkspruit 0 Lukholo JSS 3
De Hoop Primary 0 Charles Morgan 2
Siyaphambili 1 Bhongweni Primary 2
Final - Lukholo JSS 3 Bhongwen PS 0

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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