Team work, taking advice, confidence and emotional intelligence is what helped the young under-12 team from Cape Town’s Nomlinganiselo Primary School win the Danone Nations Cup national finals in Gauteng this weekend, said coach Ntokozo Mazwi. The youngsters will now take on other nations in the world finals in Spain in 2019.
The national finals took place in Gauteng on the weekend with Nomlinganiselo drawn in Group 2 with Shapeve (MP), Tshediso-Xolani (FS) and Laerskool Rustenburg Noord (NWP). They finished top of the log after beating all three schools 1 – 0 to reach the final where they played Charles Morgan Primary School from the Eastern Cape, who topped Group 1.
The final match was tough, said a tired, but excited Mazwi. “The game was evenly matched and both of us had our chances, but we failed to convert. At the end of regulation time the game was deadlocked leaving it to penalties to decide who would be going to Spain. I knew then that we had the game in the bag as I had a gut feeling that I needed to prepare my goalkeeper for this exact situation.”
In the end Nomlinganiselo won 4-3 on penalties. “I am extremely proud of my boys,” said the coach. “When one considers that our school has poor soccer facilities and we have limited equipment for training yet we still managed to beat schools that have much more than us. It is testament to how determined and courageous the team was. Charles Morgan has competed in two other national finals and went into the game as the more experienced school.”
The team will now start planning for Spain. “I learnt so much in Gauteng. Every team had their strengths in terms of tactics and technical skills that I will implement back home in Cape Town. However, I will keep to my primary focus, which is to prepare the boys emotionally for the experience. I will teach them all about Barcelona, the countries we will be playing against, while continuing to build their confidence. Preparations will consist of classroom activities as well as on field training and plenty of practise matches. We are going to look for support from the local structures to find better training facilities to get the boys used to playing on excellent surfaces.”
The coach is planning on obtain his SAFA Level 1 coaching certificate in March 2019. “I believe the Level 1 certificate focuses on coaching kids, which will help me prepare them better. Currently I have no coaching experience and teach according to what I know, which might not necessarily be the best practise.’
Premier Soccer League scouts also attended the national finals to look for talented youngsters to boost their development structures.
“The Danone Nations Cup national finals were a dream come true for every player on the pitch,” said Mandla Mazibuko from Mamelodi Sundowns.
“We have watched the teams perform at the provincial finals and it was important to have another look at them at the nationals to see how they perform under pressure. The scouts are looking for individual players at these events, but it is interesting to see how the different teams play as a collective unit. I was particularly impressed at the formations used in the final match. At this age, while it is important to just let the boys have fun and play the game, it is also important to start teaching them different tactics and how to move the ball around the field effectively. Coaching is extremely important at this age as the boys must start learning about build up and positioning as this is how you score goals.”
Manager of Charles Morgan, Lizo Wellie, was disappointed at losing in the final, but admitted he was not prepared for a penalty shoot-out. “Losing on penalties was disappointing and I did not prepare the boys fore this, but that is the game of soccer.”
Playing against Benny’s Sports Academy from Limpopo was their toughest opponent admitted Wellie.
“Benny’s has an excellent reputation and my boys were a little intimidated when they went into the game. Despite our opponent’s excellent tactics, we still managed to beat them 2 – 1 which was a massive confidence boost for the players. We won three games and drew 0-0 against Lutzburg from the Northern Cape which put us as log leaders and into the final match. It is a pity we didn’t win but there is always next year.”
The national final experience was special for the youngsters, admitted Wellie. “Seeing Johannesburg for the first time was exciting for the boys. They stayed in a hotel with all the other provinces and made plenty of friends. At the stadium there were activations such as dribbling skills tests and target practise which the boys really enjoyed. It was a dream come true for all of us and next year we will be back in action with a new team and new experiences. I am looking forward to it.”
Teams: Benny’s Sports Academy, Development (LP) Shapeve Primary School (MP), Zamukhanya Primary School (GP), Nomlinganiselo Primary School (WC), Charles Morgan Public Primary School (EC), Tshediso-Xolani Primary School (FSP), Muzuvukile Primary School (KZN), Laerskool Rustenburg Noord (NW), and Lutsburg Intermediate School (NC).
Benny’s SDA 3 vs 1 Zamukhanya PS
Shapeve PS 0 vs 1 Nomlinganiselo PS
Charles Morgan 2 0 PS vs Muzuvukile PS
Tshediso-Xolani PS 1 vs 0 Laerskool Rustenburg Noord
Lutzburg IS 0 vs 2 Benny’s SDA
Zam’ukhanya 1 PS vs 1 Muzuvukile PS
Nomlinganiselo PS 1 vs 0 Laerskool Rustenburg Noord
Charles Morgan PS 0 vs 0 Lutzburg IS
Muzuvukile PS 2 vs 1 Benny’s Sports DA
Laerskool Rustenburg Noord 0 vs 4 Shapeve PS
Zamukhanya PS 1 vs 2 Charles Morgan PS
Nomlinganiselo PS 1 vs 0 Tshediso-Xolani PS
Muzuvukile PS 0 vs 0 Lutzburg IS
Benny’s Sports DA 1 vs 2 Charles Morgan PS
Shapeve PS 1 vs 0 Tshediso-Xolani PS
Lutzburg IS 0 vs 0 Zamukhanya PS
FINAL: Charles Morgan PS 0 (3) vs 0 (4) Nomlingaliselo PS