Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Coach’s dream comes true! His school team is participating in the Danone Nations Cup

Participating in the Eastern Cape under-12 Danone Nations Cup provincial final at Laёrskool Kuswag, East London on Saturday, 4th August, will be a dream come true for coach Wandile Qobisile from Nomandi Primary School.  

It took over 10 years for the coach to get the school he was at to enter the competition. When he was at Ezamukhanya Junior Secondary School back in 2009, his principal did not believe that the kids would be able to compete in such a high-profile tournament, and when he came to Nomandi Primary in 2011, again the principal did not believe the kids had the capabilities to enter such a tournament.

So Wandile took a different approach to persuade the principal to believe in him.  He put a soccer team together at the school and persuaded the other schools in the area to do the same and they began playing friendlies against each other. He managed to get the entire area more attuned to soccer at under-12 level. His focus was to teach the kids the rules of the game as well as different tactics as well as the technical aspects of the game.  He knew that finally the sport will gain momentum in the area and, as they say, change is inevitable.

Finally, in 2016, he was given the green light to go ahead and the school entered the Danone Nations Cup. “At first we were amateurs,” said Qobisile. “We didn’t even have proper kit to play in. The players weren’t comfortable playing against other schools at this level and we never made it past the cluster phase of the tournament.”

So, he went back to the drawing board. “Soccer is about setting goals, accepting defeat and being able to bounce back and most importantly trust in your team,” Qobisile said. “In 2017 we entered the tournament again and I soon noticed that the other teams had improved. I knew I had a good team, but I underestimated the opponents. I realized then that every year is a new experience completely. You play against different schools, different teams, some change coaches and so they play a completely different game.

“Once again, we didn’t get past the cluster phase, but the experience I gained excited me and, this year, I was ready to put the next group of youngsters to the test. I realised that I needed to apply what I had learnt by watching last year’s games. Well, it has worked, and we are going to the provincial finals! I know that I still have a lot to learn and I then must transfer this knowledge to my youngsters. That’s what is so exciting about this tournament.  Obviously we would love to play in the national finals, but the Danone Nations Cup is also about learning, having fun and fair play.”

As for Qobisile himself, he played street soccer and school soccer but has no formal coaching qualification, but he has a diploma in teaching and has an advanced certificate in life orientation from Unisa. He also attended a refereeing workshop which has helped a lot with his coaching.

The key player in the team, he believes, will be Bayanda Yomithi, the left back. “He is a focused player and a good motivator, I’m expecting a lot from him,” Qobisile said.

The provincial finals won’t be easy, but the team is well organised this year and they have as much chance as any of the other seven teams to get through to the national finals, he believes.

“The Danone Nations Cup is a very prestigious tournament. Since we have been entering the tournament people in the area are paying attention to us, they encourage us to do well.

“The principles of the Danone Nations Cup are important. I teach my players to believe in their dreams. We like to live by the Danone philosophy which is to pay attention to health and nutrition. Danone’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible, an important lesson for kids to learn and it will become a lifetime practise.”

The teams participating in the Eastern Cape provincial finals are:
Joe Gqabi district: Ngxaza Junior Secondary School
Chris Hani district: Empumelelelweni Senior Primary School
Buffalo City Municipality: Charles Morgan Primary School
Amathole district: Fort Malan Senior Primary School
Alfred Nzo district: Patekile Junior Secondary School
Sarah Baartman district: Gcinubuzwe Primary School
OR Tambo district: Nomandi Junior Secondary School
Nelson Mandela Bay district: Mzimhlophe Primary School.


St David’s Marist from Inanda, Sandton, will compete in the Danone Nations Cup Gauteng provincial finals

St David’s Marist, Inanda, are the Johannesburg Primary School Football Association’s (JPSFA) Danone Nations Cup winners after beating new comers into the tournament, Heronbridge College 2 – 1 in the final match.

Schools from the JPSFA competed in the Danone Nations Cup for the second successive year with 21 schools entering and it was hosted by St David’s Marist Inanda again.

“This is very exciting and something completely different for our team,” said St David’s coach, Thami Nkabinde, who has a FIFA coaching certificate that he obtained in 1994 and renewed through the JPSFA in 2004. 

“It was a tough competition,” said the coach. “We saw some great soccer and the tournament was very well organised. The players particularly enjoyed the NutriDay and Yogi Sip products that they were given over the three days.  The calcium and vitamins are so important in keeping energy levels at optimal level as the boys played more often than they are used to each day.”

St David’s was grouped with Northwest Christian School, Emmarentia Primary School, Sacred Heart College, Deutsche Internationle Schule and Greenside Primary School. On the first day they played against Greenside Primary School and the won 2-0. Their second opponents, Deutsche Schule, arrived late and they were awarded 3 points.

On the second day they beat Sacred Heart College 4 - 1 in their first game. “The boys really communicated well, and their team work was excellent,” said Nkabinde.  “It is important that the players understand that team work, as opposed to showboating as individuals,  is what wins games in soccer.  Their accurate passing and making use of spaces as well as utilizing the full field managed to win us the game.”

This camaraderie and team work continued in their second game against Emmarentia Primary School and they won the game with the same margin of victory, 4-1.

The final day they beat the Northwest Christian School 1-0 to top their group and qualify for the semi-finals. “We played Fairsand Primary School in the semis and they cracked under the pressure,” Nkabinde said. “Their communication was poor, and we beat them 3-1.”

That took them into the final against Heronbridge College. “Heronbridge were strong and would have been worthy champions,” Nkabinde said. “We scored twice, but they pulled one back and it seemed like an equaliser was imminent and it was going to go to penalties, however my boys managed to hold on until the final whistle.”

Nkabinde was impressed by the support of the parents at the games. “It was amazing, it would be great if all parents could attend matches and support their children,” he said.

And now the boy’s dreams have come true and they are off to the provincial finals.  “We have no idea what we will be up against, but we have heard from Reddam, who were last year’s winners, that it is going to be tough as the schools registered with the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) are very experienced in the tournament and have exceptional talent.  We will keep to our game plan and put in a couple of extra training sessions and extra games to ensure we are ready for 25th August.”

The schools that played in the JPSFA finals were:
Group A Results
St Davids Marist Inanda 2 vs Greenside Primary School 0
Northwest Christian School 3 vs Deutsche Internationale Schule 0
Emmarentia Primary School 2 vs Sacred Heart College 2
Deutsche Internationale Schule 0 vs St Davids Marist Inanda 3
Sacred Heart College 0  vs Greenside Primary School 1
Group B Results
Grayston Preparatory 3 vs HA Jack Primary School 4
HeronBridge College 1    vs Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel 0
HA Jack Primary School 2 vs Orange Grove Primary School 0
Heronbridge College 2    vs Grayston Preparatory 0
Emmarentia Primary School 4 vs Northwest Christian School 2
Group C Results
Blairgowrie Primary School 3 vs The Kings School Robin Hills 1
Houghton Primary School 0 vs Fairsand Primary School 0
The Kings School Robin Hills 1 vs Reddam House Bedfordview 1
Houghton Primary School 1 vs Blairgowrie Primary School 1
Group D Results
King David VPPS 1 vs Maryvale College 3
Houghton Muslim Academy 1 vs De La Salle Holy Cross College 4
Maryvale College 2 vs Bryneven Primary School 5
Houghton Muslim Academy 0 vs King David VPPS 5

Group A Results
St Davids Marist Inanda 4 vs Sacred Heart College 1
Deutsche Schule Internationale 2 vs Emmarentia Primary School 1
Greenside Primary School 4 vs Northwest Christian School 1
Emmarentia Primary School 1     vs St Davids Marist Inanda 4
Northwest Christian School 0      vs  Sacred Heart College 3

Group B Results
Orange Grove Primary School 1  vs Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel 1
HA Jack Primary School 0 vs HeronBridge College 1
Grayston Preparatory 0 vs Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel 3
HeronBridge College 1    vs Orange Grove Primary School 0
Greenside Primary School 1 vs Deutsche Schule Internationale 1

Group C Results
Reddam House Bedfordview 2vs Fairsand Primary School 2
The Kings School Robin Hills 0 vs Houghton Primary School 0
Blairgowrie Primary School 0 vs Fairsand Primary School 2
Houghton Primary School 1 vs Reddam House Bedfordview 1

Group D Results
Bryneven Primary School 3 vs De La Salle Holy College 0
Maryvale College 6 vs Houghton Muslim Academy 1
King David VPPS 0 vs De La Salle Holy College 2
Houghton Muslim Academy 0 vs Bryneven Primary School 7

Group A Results
St Davids Marist Inanda 1 vs Northwest Christian School 0
Greenside Primary School 1 vs Emmarentia Primary School 0
Sacred Heart College 0   vs Deutsche Internationale 1

Group B
Orange Grove Primary School 2  vs Grayston Preparatory 1
Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel 3  vs HA Jack Primary School 1

Group C
Reddam House Bedfordview 2 vs Blairgowrie Primary School 1
Fairsand Primary School 4 vs The Kings School Robin Hills 1

Group D
Bryneven Primary School 0 vs King David VPPS 1
De La Salle Holy Cross College 1  vs Maryvale College 0
Winner Group A – St Davids Marist Inanda 3 vs Fairsand Primary School 1
Winner Group B – Heronbridge College  0(3)    vs   Winner Group D – Bryneven Primary School 0 (1)
St Davids Marist Inanda 2  vs  Heronbridge College 1

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Georgedale Full Service School will represent Pinetown in the Danone Nations Cup KwaZulu-Natal provincial final

The under-12 Danone Nations Cup KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals take place at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Pinetown on 28th July, with 12 districts sending their winners to qualify to represent the province at the national finals in Gauteng on 15th September.  The ultimate winner will compete in the world finals in Spain in 2019.

The school representing the Umzinyathi District is Lewis Combined based in rural Msinga. This will be the second year in succession that they have reach the provincial finals under coach Siyabonga Xulu, who is also the sports coordinator at the school. 

“Last year we never made it past the group stage and we are looking forward to the tournament this year and hoping to do better,” said Xulu, who has no formal coaching qualifications, but did play varsity soccer at University of KZN under coach, Mr Sapula, who was his inspiration and role model throughout his tertiary study years.

“Mr Sapula taught me so much about soccer; how to analyse players and opponents and how to make changes to your team to improve the entire game,” he said. “Soccer is a team game and you have to play as a team. It’s important to ensure that players are in the correct positions to suit their play and that they blend and synchronise well. At this young age that is critical. It helps them to feel comfortable and enjoy the game.”

The provincials will be tough for Lewis as a school from a very rural area competing against the winners of much bigger districts who have a lot more experience.

The boys are currently on holiday but Xulu knows that they, like him, will be watching the World Cup intensely. “I’m observing the different styles of play of the different countries and seeing how comfortable the players are on the ball,” he said. “The World Cup inspires kids to play better and encourages them to dream big.”

Xulu believes his strength is in his ability to study the opposition and create a game plan that takes advantage of the skills of his players. “Our opposition are in for a surprise,” he said. “I know I will also learn a lot from the other coaches at the provincial finals. I’m particularly interested in the coaches from the Pinetown area where there is good infrastructure to assist the schools.”

Nutrition is extremely important for the children to remain healthy. Lewis is a Quintile 1 school, meaning that most of the parents do not work and it is in a very poor area. The school has its own vegetable garden that is maintained by the pupils. “It teaches them the importance of developing healthy eating habits and gives them nutrition that helps them to be more focused during classes and on the sports field,” Xulu said.

The school has a supportive principal in Bhekumuzi Linda. “He is very involved at the school and very encouraging and caring of the learners and the soccer team,” Xulu said. “I can rely on his support.”
Xulu thanked Danone for giving coaches a wonderful opportunity to use soccer to inspire the youth and to teach them life skills. “Danone really cares for the youth,” he said.” These boys come from different backgrounds, some are from very disadvantaged homes and others are less disadvantaged. They earn to respect each other. no matter what background they come from.”

While he doesn’t want to single out any players, there are two who are mature and confident and hold the team together, communicate well on the field and motivate the rest of the team. He will be relying on them at the finals.

Participating schools:

Esididini PS
Summerfield PS
Shakaskraal SA PS
Muzuvukile PS
Georgetown Full Service School
Dunywa PS
Nhlambamasoka PS
Qomukuphila PS
Sherwood PS
Lewis Combined School
Jabulani PS
Ningizimu PS