Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Nine Provincial Winners of the Danone Nations Cup will gather in Gauteng for the National Finals

The long sifting process is over and the nine schools that will be competing for the national title in the Danone Nations Cup competition have been identified.

They will gather at the WJ Clements Stadium in Reiger Park, Boksburg on Saturday June 25th for the tournament’s national finals day (kickoff 9.30am).

The teams have come through local, regional and provincial elimination stages and are now playing for the big prize: the chance to represent South Africa at the Danone Nations Cup world finals in France in October.

Danone and the sponsorship partners, Mille, have laid on quite a day, with plenty of fun activities on the adjacent fields to entertain the public, and free NutriDay yoghurt, Yogi Sip, Mayo and UltraMel for everyone who attends.

Entrance to the stadium is free

Of the nine competing schools only one – Eastern Cape champions, Barkerville, the 2012 national champions – have won the title before, and most of them have never competed in the nationals before.

So, predicting who will win is not easy.

Nancy Shiba Primary School, representing Mpumalanga, are in the tournament for only the second time. Their coach, Andile Moloto, says that since they won their provincial title he has been approached by a community member who is involved in soccer development to assist as a mentor and technical coach, and he has also received calls from both Pirates and Sundowns, wanting to come and look at his team. 

Training is going well at the school, although exams have put a stop to the extra training which they wanted to do.

Moloto believes passing the ball effectively and executing in front of goal are essential, so those are the things he is concentrating on with the team.

Musa Memela, coach of KZN champions, Mthethomusha Primary School, said their preparations are a bit slow at the moment due to the mid-year exams, but they have been playing friendlies against local club teams.
He has been following the other schools they will be playing against on Facebook, so knows who his competition will be and he feels confident they will do well.

“We are focussing on score quickly as the games are only 20 minutes long and this doesn’t give much time. Attack is key in such short games,” he said.

Mthethomusha striker, Qiniso Ngubane, will be a key player, the coach said. “He has the speed and ability to score. He is a bit too emotional but he is also a great motivator, and has plenty of experience.”

Witsieshoek Primary will be representing the Free Sate and their manager, Zwelibanzi Zimu, said preparations are going very well.

“We have had great support from the district director of education who has arranged a district tournament to help get the boys used to playing competitively,” he said.

They have also had assessments from the Charles Mopeli High Performance centre, and attended training sessions there.

Zimu has been impressed with striker, Reabetswe Moloi. “He is an ambitious player, he is a quick learner and has improved greatly.”

The last school to win a place in the nationals was Benny’s Sports and Development Academy.  They will be representing Limpopo at the nationals and will be the only Academy in action on Saturday. 

Their coach, Mbishi Mokoena said, after winning their provincial final this week that their build up will focus on getting the kids used to playing on grass as all their fields are sand. 

“The boys did not play well in their first provincial final game as they were playing on grass, which they rarely get the opportunity to play on.” He said. “ I could see they were slipping and they were not used to the way the ball bounced and how unpredictable it was. It also affected their confidence; however they did come back and win.  The nationals will be on grass and they need a bit more practice as this level is very tough and we know that we will be facing still opposition.”

The participating schools are:
Eastern Cape - Bakerville Junior Secondary School, Mt Frere
Free State - Witsieshoek Primary, Phuthadithjaba
Gauteng - St Joseph's Kulani Primary, Winterveldt
KZN - Mthethomusha Primary, Edendale
North West - BM Mokitime Primary, Mafikeng
Western Cape - St Helena Bay Primary, St Helena Bay
Mpumalanga - Nancy Shiba Primary, Emalahleni
Northern Cape - Van Rensburg Primary, Britstown
Limpopo – Benny’s Sports Development & Academy, Vhembe

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