GAUTENG will host the last U-12 Danone Nations Cup football provincial final on Saturday, 15 June at Reiger Park, Boksburg. The eight teams will start playing at 9am with the final taking place at 2pm.
Schools from Gauteng have always done well in this competition such as Johanesburg’s Bree Primary won in 2008 and 2009, the latter year they went on to win the World Finals after beating the team from Switzerland in the final at the Orlando Stadium.
Last year’s Gauteng champions, Sonqoba Primary School narrowly lost in the final game of the tournament to KZN’s Sinamova Primary, who went on to represent South Africa in Poland in the World Finals.
The school is back in the Gauteng Provincial finals again this year. Coach Thulas Sibeko is hoping they can go one step further than they did last year and make it onto the plane to London, where the Danone Nations Cup World Finals take place in September, this time around.
“The team has done well so far,” Sibeko said. “They always give 110% during the games and the results speak for themselves. We are training hard and I have been helped by Wonderboy Mtshali who was appointed by the Education School Support Programme. He has extensive knowledge regarding coaching and he adds his expertise in preparing the boys for the provincial finals. “I tell the players that without working hard, they will never achieve
anything in life. They need to be disciplined, work hard and never miss training. I also mention the possibility of going to London for the World Finals, which helps in lifting their spirits and getting them to do their best.”
Also in the finals will be Tsakane Ext 8 Primary School from the East Rand, a school that is only in its second year of existence. Making the provincial finals has been a huge achievement.
Coach Mfaniseni Kunene says, “This was the first time we entered the Danone Nations Cup and yet we managed to make it this far. It’s quite an achievement for a school that is one year old.”
Several players have been doing well for the team so far, but the one that has impressed Kunene most has been goalkeeper, Thembinkosi Ngobeni. “He has stopped many an opponent from scoring goals.” he said. Kunene has moved
training sessions to a half ground in preparation of the tournament. “Their soccer skills are good; we are now working on getting them to understand the rules of the game,” he said.
Also competing will be Kgomoco Primary School who has been playing in the tournament since its inception in 2000, but never have they made it to the National finals. Last year they competed in the Gauteng provincial finals and coach, Tebogo Shale, is hoping to take it a step further this year.
“The kids are excited about the possibility of representing the country in London and are looking forward to playing the upcoming matches,” Shale says.
Participating schools are:
Gauteng East D5-Tsakane Ext 8 Primary School
Ekurhuleni South D6-Sonqoba Primary School
Gauteng West D2-Isiqalo Primary School
Johannesburg North D10-Lukholweni Primary School
Johannesburg South D11-Basa Tutorial
Tshwane West D15-Manamelong Primary School
Tshwane South D4-Makgwaraneng Primary School