Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Free State’s Phaphama Public School book their spot in the Danone Nations Cup National Finals

Phaphama Public School of Fouriesburg are the Free State provincial champions in the under-12 Danone Nations Cup soccer competition after beating Brebner Primary School, on penalties, in the provincial playoffs at Grey College last weekend.

The excellent fields at Grey College came as a bit of a shock to the Phaphama boys, who are used to playing on some pretty basic facilities in the Golden Gate area that they come from.

We are from a beautiful part of the country,” said team coach, Lekwa Mokoining, but there are only about 6 000 people that live there and there are limited resources to put into upgrading fields.”

They were also not used to the number of people who watched them play. “We were taken by surprise by the crowd, and this resulted in the boys adapting very late,” Mokoining said.

In the pool stages, Phaphama won 2 games, drew one and lost to Brebner Primary 3-1, before they found their feet and beat Brebner when they met them for a second time, in the final.

“The hardest game of the day was definitely the final against Brebner,” Mokoining said. “They had talented players and were tactically and technically advanced. They had strong, fit boys who could shoot from far out. They scored some of their goals from the halfway line.”

Mokoining has been coaching teams in the Danone Nations Cup for a number of years and this is the first time he has advanced this far.

“What changed is that the Department of Basic Education sent me on a SAFA Level D coaching course,” he said, “and that changed my entire outlook to coaching at this level.”

Although their success was a team effort, there was one boy, Mhlapo Mvulane (attaching midfielder) who was the game maker on the day.

“He played with purpose and confidence and didn’t let anything get him down. He was dynamite on the day,” the coach said.

The team will be having a week’s break now and then Mokoining will start arranging friendly games against team in their region including in the surrounding towns like Fiksburg and Bethlehem.

“Match practise is key in preparing for the national finals,” he said.

Runners-up, Brebner Primary from Bloemfontein, were the new kids on the block at the Free State finals. They came armed with a support base including their principal, teachers, pupils and members of their local community.

They got off to a blistering start, winning all four pool games to top the log but they seemed to lose concentration in the final match. 

Despite taking many shots at goals in the final, they were unable to get past the on-form goalkeeper from Phaphama.

The next Provincial final will be the North West decider in Klerksdorp on May 6th.

Brebner 3 vs Zamaleka 2
Phaphama 2 Jagersfontein 0
Tikwe 0 vs Brebner 1
Zamaleka 1(2) vs Phaphama 1(3)                     
Jagersfontein 2 Tikwe 0               
Brebner 3 Phaphama 1                
Zamaleka 3 vs Jagersfontein 2
Phaphama 1 vs Tikwe 0   
Jagersfontein 0 Brebner 2                      
Tikwe 1 vs Zamaleka 1                 
Final: Brebner 2(4) Phaphama 2(5).

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