THE school from Ekurhuleni, Zamukhanya Primary School from Daveyton will represent Gauteng in the national finals of the Danone Nations Cup.
This after the overcame St Joseph’s Kulani with a hard-fought 1 – 0 victory in a nail-biting final match of this Under-12 Danone Nations Cup’s provincial championships held at the Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto over this past weekend.
Said the excited coach of Zamukhanya, Sibonelo Mfeka :”I am overwhelmed as this was not expected.”
“Our first Danone Nations Cup experience and we have reached the national finals. I am humbled, and it proves that dreams come true. It doesn’t matter from where one comes, whether from the dusty streets in the rural areas or the more affluent urban area, anyone can win you just need to have faith and determination,” added Mfeka.
The winning strategy, believes the coach, was mental preparation and being able to identify talent and position that talent correctly. “The challenge is that I have no coaching qualification. I played soccer at primary school only and I coach the boys according to my personal knowledge of the game. I teach them the basics. My talent is being able to pick good players and I allow them to go out and just play the game and then I encourage them and build their confidence. I tell them that the game is seven against seven and to go out and just enjoy the game. This proved a good strategy as the provincials were not easy. The teams were good and there were plenty of spectators which was a bit daunting, but the boy’s confidence was so strong that they didn’t let anything phase them.”
The next step is the national finals at the Dobsonville Stadium. “I am not going to make any changes to either the team or our training regime,” said Mfeka.
“However, I might include more practise sessions. I am not going to promise we are going to win the nationals, but we will go well prepared and use it as a learning experience.”
Nutrition will also play a key role in preparations. “The players come from poor families and we have a feeding scheme at the school, and so I am comfortable that they will get enough nutrition to build them up for the nationals.”
Zamukhanya’s first provincial final match against St David’s Marist was tough as their opponents were strong and determined. Despite the game being played in St David’s half most of time, they failed to capitalise, and the game ended with no score giving each team a point.
Their next game was against an experienced Sunnyside Primary from Pretoria, who have competed in the numerous provincial finals. The newcomers were not phased out by experience and went on to beat them 2 – 0. They then beat Sicelo Primary 1 – 0 to top the log meeting St Joseph’s Kulani in the final match.
It was a tough game with both teams evenly matched. It could have gone either way with both schools failing to score after numerous shots at goal. Zamukhanya finally managed to put the ball in the net to win 1 – 0.
The national finals will see the nine provincial winners compete for the title and a chance to represent South Africa at the world finals scheduled for Barcelona, Spain, in 2019. Entrance to the Dobsonville Stadium on September 15 will be free and, not only can the fans watch first class under-12 soccer, but there will be fun for the whole family in the form of skill testing games, target shooting, jumping castles, face painting and much more.