EZIBUKWENI High School from Jozini in the Umkhanyakude Region won R100 000 after being crowned the Kwa-Zulu Natal under-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup football provincial champions at the Velden-Vlei Sports Complex last Sunday.
Ezibukweni beat Mtshezi 2 – 0 in the final match. Both teams will travel to Bloemfontein to compete in the National Finals from 2 – 6 October. Ezibukweni has competed in five tournaments but this with be their first National Final appearance.
Sibongakonke Ximba, Ezibukweni coach, who has a South African Football Association (SAFA) Introductory coaching certificate, has been with the school for six years and believes that with the players he has this year the school could well win the Nationals and the R1 million that goes with it.
“Competing in a tournament of the calibre of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup has always been a great experience,” said Ximba. “It is a tough competition as every team we play against is excellent. For example Lamontville High School against whom we played on Sunday. They have a good squad of players and defend well so we really battled to win that game. I believe it was our determination that pulled us through finally managing to score the goal that put us into the final.”
Midfielder, Sibusiso Sangweni, is a player Ximba believes will be crucial in the National Finals. He competed in 2008 and also plays for a National First Division side Thanda Royal Zulu. Then there is striker, Ayanda Mpontshane who is a player to watch in the future. “Ayanda has some excellent qualities such as his dribbling skills. He has an eye for goals and takes on defenders.”
Defender, Sphamandla Mlambo, wants Ezibukweni to finish in the top three at the Nationals, “I want to win the R 1 million so we can build our own soccer field because we are currently using the community field, and we also need our own sports equipment. Soccer keeps us entertained but we just lack the proper facilities to be able play well.”
Sanlam Sky Solutions Branch Manager Vincent Vilane in Richards Bay says: “Sanlam understands the value of development and the opportunity it gives youngsters to achieve what they hope for. We believe that the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup creates opportunities that have a positive impact on the youth, and provides exposure to scouts for talented players.