Clapham High crowned COPA Coca-Cola champions

Clapham High School moved a step closer to recording a historic third COPA Coca-Cola title after beating the SAFA Transnet School of Excellence on penalties to be crowned the Provinces’ best school at U15 level, in a pulsating Gauteng Provincials final on Saturday.

The final, which pitted former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Isaac Shai as Clapham coach and renowned development and long-serving coach James Mabena on the School of Excellence bench, saw both teams produce a brilliant display of football much to the delight of spectators and parents at the Bram Fischer Sports Complex in Soweto.

Clapham High, COPA Coca-Cola champions in 2014 and 2015, now join the champions from the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape at the National Finals set to take place from 28 – 30 September in Mangaung. The few remaining Provincial winners of the 2017 edition of the COPA Coca-Cola U15 Football Tournament hosted by Coca-Cola, in conjunction with the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA), will come the North West, KwaZulu Natal Mpumalanga, Polokwane and Free State.

Two hugely talented players, Bongani Mabuza from Reshogofaditswe High School and Katlego Tsotetsi from the School of Excellence, will join the ‘Which Part Will You Play’ All-Star team that will play against an U15 Premier Soccer League club as a curtain-raiser to the final match at the National Finals.

Mabuza, a skilful left-footed attacking midfielder and Grade 9 learner from Tsakane was identified as ‘The Artist’ while 15-year old Tsotetsi, was chosen as “The Mastermind”.

“Even though we came to the Provincial Finals with the aim of winning it, we are pleased to have left having gained a lot of experience to take us forward. I really enjoyed myself out on the park and will continue learning and working hard to make it as a professional soccer player one day to change my situation at home,” commented Mabuza, after the final. Mabuza, who supports Kaizer Chiefs, caught the eye of scouts from Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, University of Pretoria and U17 national team coach Molefi Ntseki, who attended the Gauteng Provincial Finals.

Another exciting talent on the day, Tsotsetsi, was proud to have led his school to the final. “I’m really proud of what our team achieved at the Provincial Finals. Despite not winning the final, we played really well throughout and it was a pity we only lost on penalties. Thank you to the scouts that selected me, I really gave it my all,” said the speedy winger from Sebokeng.

Now in its third year, the campaign’s ‘Which Part Will You Play’ initiative sees ambassador Simba Marumo, together with a panel of football experts and media, visit all nine Provinces in search of players that embody and represent the dynamic and unique roles needed to make up a successful team – The Rock, the Heart, the Perfectionist, the Rebel, the Joker, the Impossible, the Machine, the Artist, the Underdog, the Mastermind and the Legend. Players fitting these characteristics are selected to form the ‘Which Part Will You Play’ All-Star team, and will be given the opportunity to play a curtain raiser match ahead of the official National Finals tournament.

Clapham High School’s road to the title:

Clapham High School 4-0 Pholosho High School
John Deweey High School 0-3 Clapham High School
Clapham High School 2-1 Kwadedalanga High School
Clapham High School

*FINAL (Clapham won 5-4 on penalties)

1-1 School of Excellence