Monday, August 26, 2019

Professional coach comes in to assist Muzuvukile Primary in their preparations for the Danone Nations Cup world finals in Spain

The Danone Nations Cup boys world finals kick-off in Spain on 10 September and South Africa’s Muzuvukile Primary School from Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, will be one of only a handful of countries among the 20 competing that will be represented by a school as the rest are all club teams. So, Danone Southern Africa has brought in a top South African coach, Scelo Qwaba, to assist Muzuvukile in their preparations.

Qwaba is currently a coach at the University of Zululand and his under-17 team recently won a national tournament. He has a CAF A Coaching License and is also a coach instructor and therefore well equipped to assist the school.

Qwaba will go through to the school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to run their training sessions, with the possibility of increasing the number of days per week closer to the date of their departure for Barcelona.

“We know the competition will be tough in Barcelona,” said Muzuvukile coach, Xolani Mokoba.  “Our boys are usually the smallest at tournaments like these, so we are preparing the boys to play a carpet style of football as opposed to an aerial game. It’s a change to our style of football and the boys seem to have adapted well. However, extra training from a professional coach is exactly what we need. I do not have any coaching qualifications and would like to learn from Qwaba.”

The opportunity to play in Barcelona is a chance of a lifetime for many of the boys, believes Mokoba and he wants them to remember it as successful on the field as well as socially and culturally.  “The boys will always reflect back on this trip and I want them to be fond memories of fun, meeting people from different parts of the world and of great importance it must be a massive learning curve. Our manager has been on Facebook looking at what the other countries are doing and how they are preparing. My job is to get them as ready physically and mentally as possible to tackle whatever comes our way in each game.”

Muzuvukile has had great support from the local community. “The Richards Bay football club visited us and has donated balls and bibs to help us prepare,” Mokoba said. “We have also had great support from the Mseleni clinic. The nurses visited the boys, conducting medical examinations and educating them about proper nutrition leading up to our departure. They will be back every two weeks to monitor the boys' health and fitness. All this helps to ensure that we have done the best training we can.”

The first training session with Qwaba will be on Tuesday 27th August. “Facing club teams will be tough, but not impossible,” said Masi Mkhize, Communications Manager, Danone Southern Africa. “So, Danone Southern Africa decided to give them a helping hand to get the boys ready.  The team representing Spain at the 2019 world finals will be FC Barcelona’s under-12s, for example. There’s no doubt that the kids will learn a lot from playing against such opposition, but our schools going to Spain are coached by teachers with no soccer qualifications and we would like to help them. We have brought in expert assistance for all the teams, Muzuvukile and Nomlinganiselo (2018 winners from Western Cape) as well as our girls team, Rebonwe (Gauteng).”

The teams leave for Barcelona on Monday, 7th October and will have a couple of days to acclimatise prior to the commencement of the tournament on 10th October.

“The 2018 and 2019 world finals will be held as a double headerBarcelona is symbolic as it was in this city in 1919 that Isaac Carasso created the first Danone yogurt with the aim of improving one’s health,” said Mkhize.  “We are combining Danone’s centenary and the 20th edition of the world final in a bumper edition this year.  It also coincides with our new brand positioning and purpose, One Planet One Health, which reflects our belief that the health of humankind and that of the planet are interlinked and both need to be protected and nurtured.

“Through the Danone Nations Cup, we are contributing to bringing this vision to life by promoting the importance of exercise. Further, we are encouraging our young athletes to ‘Play Football, Change the Game’, which is a rallying message to unite children, irrespective of their backgrounds and cultures, and to encourage them to become catalysts for positive change,” concluded Mkhize.