Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kwa-Zulu Natal is next to hold their u-12 Danone Nations Cup Provincial Finals

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals of the under-12 Danone nations Cup soccer tournament will be held at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Claremont on Saturday 14th May.

Among the 12 finalists are schools who have been regular participants at provincial level; some who have been playing in the tournament for years without reaching this level before; and a few who are entering the competition for the first time this year.

Zandile Primary School from Umlazi, Durban has been competing in the tournament since 2012, but this is the first time they have reached the provincial finals.

Coach, Siya Shangashe, is from outside the school and is happy that at last they have made it to the provincials. “This is a great achievement for us and the atmosphere at the school is electrifying. The team was acknowledged at assembly and the choir sang a special song for them to mark their achievement.”

Shangashe said that he is now focusing on the psyche of the players. “It isn’t easy dealing with young players. They tend to lose confidence if they don’t excel in a game. It is important to encourage kids all the time.”

Shangashe has no coaching qualifications, nor did he play the game at a high level. He does run a local soccer team called Strikers FC in his area in Umlazi where he coaches under-12, 13 and 15 players.

He tries to learn more about the game by watching teams like Man United City and Barcelona, and tries to teach the skill she sees to his team.

There are two players in the team that the coach hopes will make in impact at the provincials. They are defender, Wonderboy Dlamini, who blocks with determination; and midfielder, Kwanele Nyawose, who has been with the team since he was 10 and has a lot of experience in the tournament.

Ophuzane Primary School from Zululand played in the KZN provincial finals in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 but has never made it to the national finals.  The closest they have come is provincial runners up in 2011.

Bheki Buthelezi, the team manager and coach Azaria Ndwed are both teachers at the school and have been working well together for a long time.

Ndwedwe, like most of the coaches at this level, has no formal coaching education and learns from reading books on development as well as by watching local PSL games on TV.

He finds the lack of confidence of the players his main concern. “The players were surprised to be told that we topped the log and are in the provincial finals,” he said.

A lack of confidence and self-belief seems to a common problem among the schools playing in the competition. Sindawonye Primary School coach, Clifford Mnasi, has found the same thing.

Sindawonye are competing in the Danone Nations Cup for the first time and Mnasi is surprised his team has made it this far in their first year.

“Preparations are going well but the kids are nervous as they know that competing in the provincials will be a different experience,” he said.  “They come from a rural area so they don’t have enough facilities nor are there many soccer tournaments so it will be a first for them.”

Mnasi is a teacher at the school with no formal coaching qualifications. He is focussing on attack ahead of the provincials. “They need to focus more on their execution when it comes to scoring, distributing the ball fast to their teammates and controlling the ball,” he said.

The schools participating in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals are:
1.       Sisonke district: Sindawonye Primary School
2.       Zululand district: Ophuzane Primary School
3.       UMzinyathi district: Ithaka Primary School
4.       Pinetown district: Kastruba Gandhi
5.       UThungulu district: Snaye Primary School
6.       UMkhanyakude district: Dumile Primary School
7.       ILembe district: Dinuphuzo Primary School
8.       Amajuba district: Sipheni Senior School
9.       Uthukela district: Inkunzi Primary School
10.   UMgungundlovu district: Mthethomusha Primary School
11.   UMlazi district : Zandile Primary School
12.   Ugu district: Delihlazo Primary School

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