Registration for the 2018 edition of the largest soccer tournament in the world for kids between 10 and 12 years is open. Schools across the country are invited to become part of the Danone Nations Cup, which touches the lives of over 2 million people annually.
2018 will be the 19th edition of the tournament, which is the brain child of Danone, the biggest global producer of dairy products. South Africa has been participating in the tournament since its inception and has won the world title three times: in 2003, 2007 and 2009.
The tournament is run in partnership with the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) and it comprises games beginning at cluster level, with winning schools progressing to regional and then provincial levels, culminating in the national finals where the national champion team that will represent the country at the Danone Nations Cup World Finals is identified.
Last year, over 2 700 schools registered to play in the initial rounds of the tournament, which is the most to have registered in the history of the tournament in this country.
In 2017, for the first time, schools belonging to the Johannesburg Primary Schools Football Association joined the tournament. They hosted their own final with Reddam House of Bedfordview, beating King David Sandton and going on to compete in the Gauteng provincial finals. The number of schools from the association is expected to grow substantially in 2018.
Among the schools who are expected to be the first to enter are Benny’s Sports Development and Academy from Limpopo (2016 national champions) and the defending champions, Mophela Primary School from KwaZulu-Natal. The former school, under coach Mbishi Mokwena, has already started preparing their team.
The basis on which the competing nations decide on their champion team differs from country to country. In South Africa it is an inter-school competition. Other countries send their top club youth sides or academy teams, whilst others select regional or even national teams at under-12 level.
The Danone Nations Cup is built on fundamental principles: participation, friendship, accessibility and fair play. The message is to believe in your dreams and to promote healthy living through sport to as many people as possible in the world.
The eventual 2018 South African national champion team will be going to the Danone Nations Cup World Finals at a venue still to be decided.
To register for the tournament please contact Themba Tshabalala at SASFA: firstname.lastname@example.org or 072 588 4957