Thursday, March 2, 2017

Gauteng Schools prepare for the Danone Nations Cup

Registrations are still open for primary schools in the 15 Gauteng Provincial districts to enter the 2017 Danone Nations Cup. 

The tournament begins at cluster level and progresses through regional and provincial finals, with the top nine schools eventually playing in the national finals in July. The winners there earn the right to represent the country at the Danone Nations Cup World Finals which take place in the United States later in the year.

The Tshwane South district usually sees between 25 and 30 primary schools competing, and among them this year will be Sunnyside Primary School. The school has played in the competition for many years, with limited success, until last year when, under new coach Phila Pereira they managed to get through to the provincial finals stage.

“We never won the provincial title, but three of my players were noticed there,” Pereira said. “Lungelo Sibeko was scouted by Supersport United Football Club and is currently playing for their development team; and David Mbrize and Mickey Banzio were select to play for the Pretoria Football Club under-13s. They would never have got those opportunities if we hadn’t played in the provincial finals, and that is motivating us to do well again this year.”

Sunnyside selected its team for this year’s competition in October last year. “Preparations have started,” Pereira said. “We have played some friendlies against local clubs and all the boys also play for Blue Stars club in the local league and I coach them there.”

Across in the Ekurhuleni South district Sonqoba Primary School has registered again.

Their coach, Wonder Mtshali, has managed to get them into the provincial finals every year since 2012.  They competed in the national finals in 2012 but have not managed to get there again. “We were knocked out at the provincial stage last year, but we are already working hard to go one better this time,” he said. “I am concentrating on our attack because we never scored enough goals last year.

“The team needs to present a united front from the beginning until the end of the game, leaving no gap for the opposition to counter attack against us.”

Mtshali is full of praise for the tournament. “Grass roots development is essential if we as a nation want to be successful at soccer. We need more tournaments such as the Danone Nations Cup that will encourage players and give them more exposure. 
“The young players are getting exposed to professional standards of soccer. Danone is a very important brand and visible to the whole world. They want to nurture the talent of these players and ensure a brighter future for them. That’s very important,” he concluded.

Registration is still open.  Download the forms on:
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