Garden Route Primary School gears up for the Danone Nations Cup Provincial Finals

The schools that will be playing in the under-12 Danone Nations Cup Western Cape provincial finals have emerged from the province’s process of local area and district matches, and will be in action at the D’Almeida Stadium in Mosselbay on Saturday, May 28th, kick-off at 10am.

Action from final game Restvale (blue) vs Kleinberg (black)
Action from final game Restvale (blue) vs Kleinberg (black)

Up for grabs, along with the Western Cape title, will be the opportunity to play in the national finals of the tournament in Boksburg on June 25th. The national champions that are determined there will go to the Danone Nations Cup World Finals in Paris, France in October this year.

There will be six regional winning schools competing, one being The Garden Route Primary School from Mosselbay, who will have home ground advantage.  They started playing in the tournament in 2005 and this is the first time they have made it to the provincial finals.

Most of the players, according to the coach, Msingaghi Geja, also compete in local clubs which is a benefit as they have experience in competitive football.   His key message to the players prior to this weekend is to remember they are a team and to play as such.

He has no coaching qualifications and is a teacher at the school and has been both teacher and coach since 2005.  His key player, Abulele Stuurman, is not with a club but is an accurate striker scoring 5 goals in the 6 games they played. He is a great motivator and very good at creating scoring opportunities.

Zwelihle Primary School in Hermanus, representing the Overberg district will also be in action on Saturday.

The school has been participating in the competition since 2009, and in 2011 they went to the national finals as Western Cape champions, making it as far as the semi-final stage.

Their coach, Sivuyile Mghoboza, has been with the team since 2012. He is an external coach who specializes in youth coaching in the area after qualification through the Department of Arts and Culture’s Federations and Club Development programme.

He has a SAFA Level 1 coaching certificate.  “It is very important for coaches at youth level to have some sort of coaching qualification behind them.  It is valuable in helping deal with young children and teaching them at an early age the laws of the game, good habits, controlling of the ball and communication skill among the players.”

He played for Home Destroyers Football Club in the local league in Hermanus before his work with the Department of Arts and Culture took up too much of his time and he decided to focus on youth development.

Two members of the 2011 team were scouted by the School of Excellence. Baxolele Malnjana, the captain and Sibusiso Sanda, the goalkeeper, are both in Grade 11 doing well in both football and academics.

“We obviously want to win the provincial title this year,” Mghoboza said, “but I also hope that more of our players will be scouted and recruited to play for of teams such as the School of Excellence or the Sundowns Development so that they can get an opportunity to excel and grow in their soccer careers.”

Cloetesville Primary of  Stellenbosch will be representing the Winelands district. This is the third time they have reached the provincial finals – they went through in 2009 and 2014 as well.

Roger Cupido, the team coach pointed out that the school is well known for producing good soccer players at all youth levels and have won many tournaments over the years.

“The Danone Nations Cup is an amazing experience for under-12 players,” Cupido said. “It has brought a lot of excitement to the school. Although the school is in town, many of the learners come from disadvantaged homes in the surrounding rural areas, and tournaments like this bring them a lot of joy and hope.”

Cupido has been coaching at the school since 2008. He is highly qualified in youth coaching after obtaining a SAFA Level 1 coaching certificate as well as a Level 1and 2 coaching qualifications from the Royal Netherlands Football Association.

The schools participating in the Danone Nations Cup Western Cape provincial finals are:

Central Karoo district: AH Barnard Primary School

Eden district: Garden Route Primary School

Overberg district: Zwelihle Primary School

Winelands district: Cloetesville Primary School

West Coast district: St Helena Bay Primary School

Cape Town district:  Encontsheni Public School

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