When the North West under-12 Danone Nations Cup provincial soccer finals take place on Saturday 6th May at the Alabama Stadium in Klerksdorp, Mmamitlwa Primary School of Saulspoort will be there for the first time.
Moses Mahau, the coach of the team, explains that they entered the competition for the first time last year, and they are thrilled to advance to the next stage at their second attempt. There will be 3 other regional winners competing in the provincials.
“We are a rural school, located in Raserapane Section, Moruleng in the Moses Kotane district, so we don’t have good facilities,” he said. “We play on a sand field, but we have the same chance as any other school of going further in the competition. Look at Benny’s Sport and Academy. They are also a rural school but they won the national finals last year and finished 14th at the world finals, out of 32 schools.”
Mmamitlwa qualified after winning their regional finals that took place on 1st April.
There were 12 schools competing in the regional finals and they were divided into 3 groups of 4 schools each. One of the teams in their pool was disqualified and Mmamitlwa won one and drew the other of their pool games to finish on top of their group.
They met Segwetlhane Primary School in the semi-finals, and won in a penalty shootout.
“It was a tough seminfinal,” Mahau said. “Segwethlane scored first but we managed to equalise, and then won on penalties.”
That put them into the final against Matlhware of Rustenburg Rural. That game also ended in a 1-all draw and Mmamitlwa won on penalties.
Mahau started teaching at the school in 2013. He has no formal coaching qualification, but he coaches at two local clubs and his experience there has helped him with the school team.
“I am passionate about development,” he said. “It’s the responsibility of school coaches to teach the kids the basic rules of the game and instill good habits at an early age to help develop them to professional level.
“It’s critical at this young age to build the players’ self-esteem and confidence. That comes primarily from the home environment so I encourage parents to get involved with every aspect of the child from their school work to extra murals.”
Mahau encourages the parents to watch their kids whenever they can. “I try to motivate and encourage them. I hope they will all come to the provincials, as that is great motivation for the team to perform well.”
Although Mahau has no idea what to expect at the provincial finals, he is pretty confident that his team has the same chance of getting into the national finals as any other school there.
“If we get the systems into place and stick to our structures we can do as well as Benny’s,” he concluded.
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|Bojanala||Mmamitlwa Primary School|