Laerskool Rustenburg-Noord secured a spot in the Danone Nations Cup national finals when they beat new comers Reivilo Primary School from the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati region 8 – 7 in a penalty shootout at the provincial finals that took place in Klerksdorp on Wednesday, 1st May.
The game ended with neither team scoring in regulation time. While both teams had scoring opportunities, Rustenburg had the lions share but failing to convert, despite their key player, Neo Mataboge having a cracking game.
Rustenburg was coached by female coach, Sibusisiwe Mangena, and it was evident when watching the team that she follows the game of soccer intently and knows the rules and regulations well as the team played a tactical game and their ball skills and formations were good.
“The games were not easy, but we have done enough to get us to the nationals again and I am overwhelmed and also excited,” said Mangena. “We didn’t perform well at Dobsonville last year, but we learnt a lot and I am so grateful that we are getting a second chance to showcase our new acquired knowledge against the best under-12 teams in the country. This is a dream come true for me personally. Last year I was the only female coach to every take a team to the national finals and now I am doing it for a second time.”
Laerskool Rustenburg had two strikers and a defender back from last year and they were ably assisted by an exceptionally talented midfielder. “We also received guidance from one of our boys from last year who recently returned from a trip to Manchester United where he learnt a lot about how the game is evolving and different techniques. He has had the boys enthralled with his stories of what happened and all the famous players he met.”
Another player that was exceptional on the day was Tholoana Malia, who has moved from goalkeeper to defender. “Tholoana proved to us that the move was a good one,” said the Mangena. “He is a confident young boy and tackles fearlessly. Further, he has great support from his parents who attend all the games he competes in which is great motivation. They were at the nationals last year and will be there again this year to cheer the team on.”
In attendance was the school principal, Mr Van der Walt who believes that sport is as important to the growth of children as education is as it plays a key role in learning life lessons. “I am exceptional proud of Sibusisiwe for taking the boys to the nationals again this year. The entire school is behind her and we will talk about the best way to prepare. We might even bring in a coach from Tshwane or Potchefstroom to assist with training. We will meet and discuss the best way forward.”
Whatever the final plan, Mangena knows that in order to maintain stamina and strength, proper eating is key. “What I have learnt since competing in the Danone Nations Cup is that maintaining a healthy diet is important in sport. I encourage every child in the team to eat properly and include a yoghurt as a snack or with a meal as it helps build strong bones which is important in soccer. “
The ultimate winner will compete in the world finals at the RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Spain between 10th and 12th October 2019.
To celebrate Danone’s centenary and the 20th edition of the Danone Nations Cup both the 2018 and 2019 world finals will take place together. The winner at the national finals taking place in Gauteng on 15th June will travel to Spain with last year’s winner Nomlinganiselo from the Western Cape.