Thursday, May 12, 2016

Outsider causes an upset to win the Mpumalanga Danone Nations Cup Provincial Final

Nancy Shiba Primary School from Witbank, in the Nkangala district, are the 2016 Mpumalanga under-12 Danone Nations Cup provincial soccer champions, having beaten the 2013 national champions, and 2014 and 2015 provincial champions, Daniye Primary School in the final last weekend.  Nancy Shiba will now compete in the National Finals taking place at Reiger Park in Gauteng on June 25th.

Daniye went into the tournament as favourites and won all their league matches, which included beating Nancy Shiba 1 – 0 in the first game of the day.  The teams met again in the final match and Nancy Shiba came back strongly and managed to beat the champions 2 – 0.

“Daniye Primary were our biggest competition at the provincials,” said coach Khulekani Sikhakhani. “Our loss in the opening game unsettled my boys, but we were able to get the team to see it as just another game and to focus on winning the next set of games, which we did.  When we knew that we would face Daniye again in the final we were ready for the challenge.  I was pleased to see that my boys kept their composure and stuck to the game plan.  The more we outsmarted them the more the Daniye team lost focus as they were complacent and not expecting us to beat them.”

Nancy Shiba competed in the tournament for the first time last year but they did not get beyond the district stage.

Team manager, Motlatsi Mthembu, who has no formal development coaching, explained why he entered the team into the tournament.  “I gain my knowledge on youth development via tutorials from David Clarke website;  Better Soccer Coaching.  In the programme it stresses how important it is for kids to get match practice and to make sure they compete in tournaments with a big incentive attached to get them used to playing competitively and the Danone Nations Cup tics all the boxes.”

The tournament builds confidence, Mthembu believes. “Most of the players are shy and reserved. They need to build their confidence so that they can grow up to be young men who know what they want in life and have the ambition to do what their hearts desire.”

Mthembu says he had an excellent team this year. “Our success was due to the talented players, three specifically, who played a major part in our win. I knew I had a talented group last year and have nurtured them for the past 12 months in preparation for this year’s Danone Nations Cup. We have an excellent coach and together we have prepared them mentally and physically and their skills have improved,” he said.

The team came into the tournament well prepared.  Coach Sikhakhani, said that they had scoured the internet to find video’s of past games.  “We did our home work,” he said.  “We found plenty of world final games on youtube and noted the high level of football.”

“We are going into the nationals with little experience but we have the knowledge which will stand us in good stead,” Sikhakhani said.

 The results of the provincial playoffs were:
1. Nancy Shiba PS 0 vs. Daniye PS 1
2. Sandzile PS 3 vs. Igugulabasha  PS 0
3. Sandzile PS 0 vs. Nancy Shiba PS 1
4. Daniye PS 4 vs. Igugulabasha 0
5. Igugulabasha PS 0 vs. Nancy Shiba PS 4
6. Daniye PS 2 vs. Sandzile PS 1
7. Final: Daniye PS 0 vs. Nancy Shiba 2

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