Thursday, May 18, 2017

KwaZulu-Natal Danone Nations Cup Provincial Finals get underway on Saturday

The next round of Danone Nations Cup provincial finals take place at Durban’s Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday, 20th May when the winners of the 12 KwaZulu-Natal districts battle it out for the provincial title and a chance to compete in the national finals.

Pinetown will be represented for the third time by Mophela Primary School. In 2015 they were provincial champions and went through to Gauteng to the nationals and last year they were beaten by Mthethomusha Primary School in the provincial final.

Sydney Mkhize, the team’s coach and manager, gives credit to his principal, Mr Ntsele who is a firm believer that children should take part in sporting activities because it helps them relax and have fun and teaches them discipline. “He made it possible for us to enter and encouraged us all the way,” Mkhize said.

Mophela came into the competition with an all-new team this year, Mkhize explains, there were 40 kids who came to trials this year so it was quite a task cutting it down to the required number of 12.

Mkhize has a level 1 coaching qualification from SAFA. He grew up playing soccer and made the Amazulu reserve team back in 1997, when he didn’t make it into the professional team, he decided to give up playing become a teacher.

The team is taking preparations for the provincial finals very seriously. They have been training four times a week and they have set up friendly matches against the surrounding school to fine tune their skills and rectify mistakes.

“It’s important to get the boys used to playing competitive soccer so they aren’t intimidated in the finals,” Mkhize said. “Our final preparations will focus on the mental aspects of the game to ensure the players have fun and don’t crack under pressure.”

There were 31 schools at their regional finals and Momphela started off red hot, scoring 9 goals in their first two matches.

That qualified them for the quarter finals. They beat Waterloo Primary School from Verulam 5-0 and went on to beat Amndlakazulu Primary School 2-1 in what was to be their toughest match of the day.

The final game was against Daluxolo Junior Primary School from Kwa-Mashu. They scored their first goal in the first half and their defence communicated well and held out, making them Pinetown District champions for the third time.

The teams participating in the provincial finals are:

Amajuba District - Enkululekweni Primary School
Lembe District - Shakaskraal Primary School
Mgungundlovu District – Muzi Thusi Primary School
Sisonke District- TBC
uMkhanyakude District- Siyathuthuka Primary School
uhukela District- Inkunzi Primary School
Ugu District- Dunywa primary School
uMzinyathi District- Lewis Primary School
uThungulu/ King Cetshawayo- Sinaye Primary School
uMlazi District- Ndongeni Primary School
Pinetown District- Mophela Primary School
Zululand District- Ningizimu

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