The next round of under-12 Danone Nations Cup provincial finals will take place at the Matlosana Stadium, Klerksdorp, on Saturday 16thJune when the regional winners of the North West province will compete for the spot to compete in the national finals in Gauteng in September.
The four school that will be competing include:
Kwala-Kitso Primary School (Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati region)
Rustenburg Laerskool Noord (Bojanala region)
Potchefstroom Primary School (Dr Kenneth Kaunda region)
Refethuto Primary School (Ngaka Modiri Molema region)
What is exciting about development programmes, such as the Danone Nations Cup, is that every year the majority of players that compete are doing so for the very first time, meaning that over the past 18 years the tournament has touched the lives of over 500 000 young under 12 footballers.
In the North West on the weekend a new crop of youngsters will be playing in the tournament. Kwala-Kitso Primary, based in Utlwanang, Christiana, will be fielding players at provincial level for the first time, even though they have been entering the tournament since 2009.
According to team manager, Ernest Matlokotsi, who has been involved since 2013, they are excited to have finally made it to the provincial finals.
The coach, Tumelo Legalamitlwa, who joined the school last year, is also excited to have played a part in getting the kids to the next level of the tournament. He would like to take it a step further and get them to the national finals.
Matlokotsi believes they have an exceptionally talented crop of players this year. “The road to the provincials was tough,” he admitted, “but I have an amazing squad of players this year and I have seen them grow in leaps and bounds with every game they played. One of our key players is going to be Onalenna Lithojo, a midfielder. He has consistently improved since the cluster levels. He is a great source of inspiration for the players and motivates them during games when they are faced with talented opponents and gets them through the tough times.”
All the Kwala-Kitso players compete at club level as well, Matlokotsi explained, which will be an advantage, as they don’t only play during school term.
The Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati regional finals took place in Vryburg last week. Four schools, Stellaland Primary School, Mogopela Primary School, Mochwari Primary School and Kwala-Kitso Primary School participated
Kwala-KItso won all their games to get them into the provincials. Their toughest opposition was against Stellaland Primary School, a school that was technically good. However, they managed to beat them 1 – 0. “It is important that we compete against excellent teams as the tournament gets more challenging with each round and my boys must be able to meet and enjoy the challenge of playing against excellent players and teams,” Matlokotsi.
Rustenburg Laerskool Noord will be competing in the provincials for a second time, the last being in 2015.
Coach,Busisiwe Mangena, the only woman to be coaching a team, is proud to be leading her team in the provincials. She might not have any coaching qualifications, but she has great passion for the game that she started playing at a young age with her siblings. She was the only girl in the team at that stage.
She played soccer until high school but never pursued a career in the sport and currently plays occasional soccer with the Lebone Teachers soccer team on the weekends. She coached the school’s under-8 and 9 team last year and was promoted to the under-12s this year. “It’s a huge achievement for me to get the team to the provincials in my first year of coaching,” she said. “We are training twice a day; during the Physical Education period and then again after school, so we are ready for whatever team we match up against on Saturday.”
Mangena saw an improvement in her payers from cluster level to the regional finals. “They key area where we have developed is communication on the field. The boys play well as a team. They trust and motivate each other. I am happy with their progress and we stand a good chance in getting the the national finals.”
Games kick-off at 10am. Entrance is free and Danone will be handing out some of their yoghurt products to the fans including YogiSip, NutriDay and DanUp.