Thursday, June 16, 2016

Outsider wins Gauteng Danone Nations Cup Provincial Final to go through to the Nationals

St Joseph’s Kulani Primary School of Mabopane in the Tshwane North district are the 2016 under-12 Danone Nations Cup Gauteng champions and will be representing the province at the soccer tournament’s national finals in Boksburg on Saturday June 25th.

The Gauteng provincial finals took place this past weekend and included 8 district winners and two invitational teams.

The teams were divided into two Groups who played in a league with the winners of each group competing in the final.  Outsiders, St Joseph’s topped Group B and invitational team, Rosebank Primary School topped Group A. 

Rosebank players were physically stronger than their diminutive counterparts making them favourites to win the tournament.  But St Joseph’s did not let size distract them and took to the field with confidence and played with a purpose completely out shining their more physical counterparts scoring the winning goal that won them the title, much to the delight of the manager, Margaret Mabilo and coach, Themba Mabuzo. 

The school has been taking part in the tournament since 2010, but has never advanced beyond the regional level before.

What makes this year different, according to Mabilo, is that they brought in Themba Mabuzo as a coach.

Before then, Mabilo coached the team, but she was also the school’s netball coach and could not do them both.

Mabuzo played in the Soshanguve Soccer League but has never played professionally. After giving up playing he joined Extra School Support Programme, a programme started by the Department of Basic Education to assist schools. They helping pupils with homework, they monitor security and they have specialists who help and evaluate in-school sports, arts and culture.

Mabuzo also runs a local club, Manchester Football Club, and most of the St Joseph’s players play there as well.

To qualify for the finals the team played 17 games and scored 34 goals. The toughest school they played against was Kgotlhelela Primary School in Soshanguve. They beat them 2-1, scoring the winner in the last minute.

Mabuzo, who sees Pitso Mosimane as his inspiration, says winning the provincial title has been his biggest coaching achievement. “Our most frustrating game at the provincials was against the Deutsche Schule. We lost on penalties after we forgot to play our own game and tried to take on theirs,” he said. “We have to be careful of that at the nationals.”

Defender, Gonste  Mkhabela, will be a key player for them at the national tournament. He is an all-rounder and has been a great asset to the team, Mabuzo said. “He is very shy and quiet-spoken, however, every time he gets on to the field he shines. He scored three amazing goals during the provincial finals.”

Reigning Gauteng champions, Bree Primary, played well but their players are young and they took some time to get over their nerves. They lost their first 2 games but then gained  their confidence and played exceptionally well in their last 2 league encounters, scoring 8 goals.

Rosebank Primary were solid in all their games but seemed to lose focus in the final allowing St Joseph’s to dominate, and win it 1-0.

Scouts from Mameldi Sundowns and SuperSport United attended the Gauteng finals and Mandla Mazibuko from Sundowns felt that the standard was not as high as in previous years. This was surprising, he felt, as Gauteng has the most schools, and many have well-run soccer programmes.

“There were, however, some boys with exceptional talent, particularly two from the Deutsche Schule, one, Jeremiah Zimmermann, reminded him of Keagan Dolly.  “He is physically small but extremely fast.  If he keeps up with his soccer he could have a bright future in the sport,” Mazibuko said.

Another, Bjorn Frohlinch, is a Hlompho Kekena in the making, he believes.

Partners, Mille, ran a competition amongst the teams to see who produces the best war cry which was won by the Deutsche Internationale Schule with Rosebank Primary School coming in a close second.  They win a complete set of Mille kit including boots.

Limpopo will host the final provincial finals tournament on Thursday, 16th June and the 9 provincial winners will then gather at the WJ Clements Stadium in Reiger Park on 25th June to determine the school that will represent SA at the Danone Nations Cup world finals in France in October.

Bree PS 0 vs. Phomolong PS 1
Deutshue Internationale Schule  0 vs. Mayibuye PS (JHB) 1
Seeiso PS  0 vs. Rosebank PS 2
St Josephs Kulani PS 1 vs. Sonqoba PS 0
Mayibuye PS(West Rand)  2 vs. Bree PS 0
Sunnyside PS  3 vs. Deutsche Internatiale Schule 1
Phomolong PS 1 vs. Seeiso PS 0
Mayibye PS (JHB) 0 vs. St Josephs Kulani PS 4
Rosebank PS  1 vs. Mayibuye PS (West Rand) 0
Sonqoba PS 4 vs. Sunnyside PS 0
Bree PS 4 vs. Seeiso PS 0
Deutsche Internationale Schule 0 (5) vs. St Josephs Kulani PS 0 (4)
Phomolong PS 0 vs Rosebank PS 1
Mayibuye PS (JHB) 0 vs. Sonqoba PS 3
Seeiso PS 1 vs. Mayibuye PS (West Rand) 2
St Josephs Kulani PS 1 vs. Sunnyside PS 0
Rosebank PS 0 vs. Bree PS 4
Sonqoba PS 1 vs. Deutsche Internationale Schule 0
Mayibuye PS (West Rand) 0 vs Phomolong 3
Sunnyside PS 1 vs. Mayibuye PS (JHB) 0
Final Game: Rosebank PS 0 vs. St Josephs Kulani PS 1

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