Monday, May 2, 2016
Gauteng schools training for the Danone Nations Cup soccer tournament
The local Gauteng under-12 Danone Nations Cup soccer games are about to get under way and a school that will be competing for the first time is Mondeor Primary School from the Central Johannesburg district.
Their entry is something of a coup for the competition as Mondeor is an established school with a strong sporting tradition. It is 61 years old and has 1 100 pupils. Apart from soccer, they play netball, cricket, 7-a-side rugby, cross country, athletics and tennis at the school.
Soccer has always been a high priority sport at the school which has produced some successful players such as the current Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper, Read Pieters.
Many of the players are with soccer clubs, which has made it hard for the coach, Lucas Nduna, to select a final squad as he has so many good players to choose from. The tournament rules say that the squad can only contain 12 players, so many have been left out, which hasn’t made Nduna very popular. “It’s a high profile tournament that everyone wants to play in,” he said, “but I had to make a choice.”
This is the coach’s first year at the school, where he is a physical education teacher. He runs a local club called Mondeor Rangers and 6 of the players in the team are from there.
Nduna believes that hard work is the fundamental quality of all top players in any sport. “You have to put the work in if you want to progress and get better. Working hard during a team training session is a given. The top players also spend hours on their own perfecting the touch and the feel of the ball,” he said.
Meanwhile Ditawama Primary from Orlando East will be competing in the Johannesburg North district of the competition for the third year.
They have never managed to get past the cluster level before, but their coach, Victor Makhetha is up for the challenge.
His background is in special needs education and teaching in the mainstream has been quite an adaptation for him.
His team has players who are new to soccer and are still learning the basic. He says he is treating this year as if it is the school’s first time in the competition. “We are starting afresh and are determined to do better that we have in the past,” he said. “Tournaments like the Danone Nations Cup are important because they help in developing player skills. These days most kids don’t have much too look forward to, so some think they have to join bad company in order for them to be liked or popular. Danone cares about the community. I hope they will continue with their amazing contribution to soccer,” he said.
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