Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Danone Nations Cup National Finals Kick-Off - Free State
The national finals of the under-12 Danone Nations Cup tournament take place in Gauteng on Saturday, with a trip to Morocco later in the year to play in the World Finals of the competition up for grabs. One of the nine participating schools that will be attending their second national finals in a row is Nelson Mandela Primary School, representing the Free State.
They are unique in that they have a female coach, Mrs Dikeledi Sothwane, and she said being back again is an advantage because they are no longer nervous and know what to expect from the competition.
“This year we have been better at preparing the team, we have learnt from last year’s experience and we know that we won’t be repeating the same mistakes,” she said.
The school has been getting a lot of help in their preparations. Club coaches from the area are lending a hand and the Provincial Department of Sports and Recreation have allowed the team to use facilities in the area that also have gym equipment.
“The players have told me more than once that they are not like last year’s team, they will win the nationals this year. They have the confidence and the right attitude to do great at the nationals,” Sothwane said.
Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko, president of the South African Schools Football Association (Sasfa) believes the Danone Nations Cup plays an important role in introducing players at this age to competitive soccer.
“It is at this level that the players get introduced to competitive football thus helping them gain confidence, learn more about team and individual work on and off the field,” he said. “It is with great excitement that we welcome the 16th national edition of the prestigious Danone Nations Cup, a catalyst for social cohesion and a medium for excellence in football.
“We know that the stakes are very high at this level as the ultimate prize is the opportunity to hoist high the SA flag at the World Cup level of Danone Nations Cup. We trust that the winning school will be good ambassadors and will come back home with new knowledge about the world and about themselves.”
The aim of the tournament, world-wide is getting children to believe in their dreams, says Danone South Africa’s Sandra Dorville. “Football has the power to make dreams come true, to lift people out of their everyday circumstances. We want children as young as this to realise that,” she said.
The Participating Schools are:
Eastern Cape - Lukholo Junior Secondary School - 2nd time national finalists
Free State -Nelson Mandela Primary School - 2nd time national finalists
Gauteng - Bree Primary School - 2009 World Final winners
KwaZulu-Natal – Mophela Primary School
Limpopo – Benny’s Sports Development Academy
Mpumalanga - Daniye Higher Primary School – 2013 National winners
North West - Kgetleng Primary School -2nd time national finalists
Northern Cape - Roodepan Primary School -2nd time national finalists
Western Cape - Restvale Primary School