Thursday, August 13, 2015
HTS Louis Botha emerge as champions of the Free State Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Provincial Finals
Bloemfontein’s HTS Louis Botha beat Dr Reginald Cingo Secondary School from Kroonstad on penalties to emerge as the under-19 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Free State provincial champions. They take home R100 000 prize money and automatically qualify for the national finals where they get the chance to increase their winnings. In terms of the rules of the competition Dr Reginald Cingo also qualify for the provincial finals.
HTS Louis Botha last won the title, and went on to finish second in the national finals of the tournament in 2013, and their coach, Prince Sani, said they were always confident they would make it to the nationals again this year.
“The team has worked hard since the beginning of the year and we came into the provincials with a positive and clear attitude and confident players,” he said.
And, playing on their home ground also helped. “We were playing on a field that we are familiar with, and had the support of our students, parents and members of the 2013 team who came to watch,” Sani said.
The finals did not go completely smoothly – they had to play their last two games with 10 men after a player received a red card – but the coach said they fought all the way till the end.
“This year the competition was extremely tough, I must congratulate all the schools that made it to the provincials. I believe the best 6 schools were showcased on Saturday.”
Louis Botha were drawn in the same pool as close rivals Grey College, whom they played twice before the finals, and beat them both times. During the provincial finals the game ended with neither team managing to score which shows that Grey came prepared, Sani said. “They have improved from the last time we met them, all the schools came well prepared.”
Louis Botha met Dr Reginald Cingo in the final match and Sani said they were their toughest competition on the day. The game ended in a 1-all draw but his side managed to win on penalties.
“Every year the level of schools soccer in the Free State improves. It was definitely better this year than in 2013 when we last won the provincials.”
Louis Botha was in a tough group, along with Grey College and Concordia High School –the team that eliminated the defending champions, Harmony, this year.
“I was wary of Concordia, they had beaten Harmony, one of the strongest teams in Free State, and I didn’t know anything about them,” Sani said.
“I did speak to their coach, and did some research, and the first league game was Grey v Concordia so I could watch them and study their style of play. They were a challenge, but we managed to beat them 1-0.”
As far as the nationals are concerned, this team has been at the national level before in other tournaments, Sani points out, so they have experience in that regard.
“But the Kay Motsepe is different. This is the most prestigious tournament and we need to apply a different approach. The team has been watching the recording of the 2013 final game against Clapham. It motivates them to put in 110% in each and every game,” Sani said.
“I have told them that it is their time rise to the occasion, this year we are not looking to be runners- up. The 1st prize which is what every school will be aiming for. I know that Gauteng and Western Cape always brings the best schools. That’s where the challenge will come from!” he said.
Grey College 2 vs. Concordia 2
Grey College 0 vs. HTS Louis Botha 0
Concordia 0 vs. HTS Louis Botha 1
Dr Cingo 4 vs. Ikanyegeng 0
Dr Cingo 1 vs. Manthatisi 0
Ikanyegeng 0 vs. Manthatisi 1
HTS Louis Botha 1 (6) vs. Dr Cingo 1 (5)