The 2014 COPA Coca-Cola Provincial Finals are set to continue on Saturday, 23 August at the JB Dlepu Stadium in Grahamstown, with the top Eastern Cape under -15 school teams, vying for the honour to represent their province at the National Finals later this year.
With 2013 provincial champions; Charles Morgan Senior Primary School and runners ups Walmer High School, both out of competition; the playing fields is are level and with all schools having an equal chance of progressing to the national finals.
Among those in for the title race is, Sada Senior Primary School from Whittlesea south of Queenstown in Chris Hani region. The school has been playing in the competition since 2010 and this is the third time they have made it through to the provincial finals. Their team manager, Richard Gonondo, says training has been stepped up a notch in preparations for this weekend.
Gonondo says his defenders Oscar Stuart and Christopher Miza – who is also the team captain – have formed a solid defensive combination.
“They both played in the competition last year, where we were knocked out at the cluster level. We have now improved and the young captain has been doing a very good job since we started preparing for the tournament. Further, the fact that this tournament has in the past paved ways for many youngsters, who are now playing professional football, has been a big motivational factor for the team.” he said.
Ikamva Lesizwe Secondary School from Cacadu region will be making their first appearance at the provincial finals after four attempts. Coach Mandla Nolwazi said the team has received tremendous support from the school principal and the teachers, who have even agreed to afford them more time to prepare for the tournament. “This has always been an important event in our schools sports calendar and for us to have reached the provincials is a great milestone. Just getting to the Provincial finals has made a difference to the boys in terms of confidence and motivation. I am proud of my team for reaching this stage.”
Looking forward to the action on Saturday from Ikamva Lesizwe Secondary is 14 year old right winger, Lupiwana Mthimkhulu. Together with his teammate Edward Mathebe, both players will be tasked with winning the ball and delivering excellent crosses into the box. Nolwazi reckon they will be essential to him winning his games come Saturday.
Also to compete on Saturday;
- VM Kwinama Secondary School – Nelson Mandela Region
- Sikhulise High School – Amathole Region
- AD Tshayingea – Alfred Nzo Region
- Sterkspruit Public School – Joe Gqabi Region
- Mdabusa Junior Secondary School – OR Tambo Region
The winning team will further represent the province at the National Finals, taking place in Kwazulu-Natal from 17 – 19 October 2014, venue yet to be announced.