ARMED with youngsters from the Premier Soccer League’s Platinum Stars development programme, and a couple of their own, Tlaseng Primary School, Danone Nations Cup first timers, could emerge as the North West Provincial champions this coming Saturday. The games starts at Ikageng Stadium in Potchefstroom is at 9am.
After years of following the Danone Nations Cup, team manager, Arthur Rapoo is at last part of the action. “The school is based in Tlaseng Village where our facilities are poor so I have been reluctant to enter the Danone Nations Cup. But all that changed this year when Platinum Stars Football Club asked the school to accommodate their U12 and U13 players. I immediately started a school soccer team and I entered the Danone Nations Cup. Dreams do indeed come true!”
The team’s success to date was unexpected: “We didn’t think that we would make it this far in our first year, but with our marvellous left back, Siyabonga Sibanyoni together with striker Rastilda Reaogela and 10 players from the Platinum Stars academy, we made it,” said Rapoo.
Tlaseng Primary school’s road to the Provincial finals started at District level with a surprise 2 – 0 win over Mogwase Primary School in the finals. “It was just unbelievable,” said Rapoo. “Obviously we would like to win the National finals but we are taking it one step at a time.”
Tlaseng will face stiff opposition on Saturday against three experienced teams, Bosugakobo Primary School from Dinokana village in Zeerust being one of them. “We have been competing in the Danone Nations Cup for the past six years and this is the first time we have reached the Provincial finals,” said an excited team manager, Daniel Sekgobela. “It wasn’t an easy road. At district level we came up against last year’s Regional champions, Ntsweletsoku Primary School on their home turf. Then we went head to head against Zeerust Primary who has also done well in the competition in the past. But that is history now and we will be representing Ngaka Modiri Molema Region in the Provincial finals.”
Sekgobela has identified striker, Den Phemelo, as a key member of his team. “Den has an excellent eye for goals and he will be assisted by Kagiso Moalusi who plays in the middle of the field and is a great ball distributer.”
Sekgobela has been with his squad since the youngsters were 9 years old and has a confident team that plays well together: “I believe that patience is a virtue and now is the time to shine. Winning the Provincial finals will not only help the boys and the school but the community as well as this will put us on the map and people will take an interest in us.”
2011 Provincial Champions, Atamela Primary School, will also be in action on Saturday representing Dr Kenneth Kaunda region. “We didn’t do well in the National Finals last year,” said coach, Jonas Morapedi. “But I saw the experience as a learning curve and went back to the drawing board and I believe I have built a good squad now and know we will do better.”
Morapedi believes his players are up for the job: “Players that I believe will do well for Atamela are Madimetsa Mokete (striker) and Lebogang Montshiwa (Left wing). Both boys have scored 5 goals each. I also have a great defender and motivator, Tebogo Montshiwa who has the same qualities as Neil Tovey in that he performs well under pressure.”
The fourth team competing on Saturday is Ebetsanang Primary School representing the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati region.