Umlazi school to compete in Danone Nations Cup

School from Umlazi qualifies for the Danone Nations Cup KwaZulu-Natal provincial final for the first time and an additional final has been included in a bid to increase the number of participating schools  in the tournament.

Adams Primary School, based in Umlazi, has qualified to compete in the KwaZulu-Natal Danone Nations Cup under-12 soccer tournament for the first time and will travel to the Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday, 11th May together with 12 other regional winners.  The ultimate winner will represent the province at the national finals in Gauteng on 15th June to determine the team to compete in the world finals in Barcelona in October.

Dedication, hard work and focus are what the manager, Sivetye Zimele, believes helped them get to the provincial finals.  “We have been competing in the Danone Nations Cup for years now, but this year we have a new coach, Sphelele Msomi, a volunteer from our area, and he has focused on building the confidence of the players.  Many come from families that have very little and some do not have parents, or do not live with their parents and therefore they need that extra support from the teachers and coach to get them to believe in themselves and focus on what is important in life to build a better future.  Our coach has made a big difference to the team.”

Zimele is not sure what to expect at the provincial finals.  “What I know is that every team competing in the provincial final has got there after competing in gruelling qualifies, as we have, and we will not take any of them lightly.  The ultimate prize of a trip to Barcelona is a great motivator and I know that every team wants to get there.  Our strategy will be to watch the teams and make minor adjustments to our game plan to help us win matches and get to the next phase of the tournament.”

The Adams under-12 team is good this year, guarantees Zimele.  “Some of my players compete at club level which helps us as they train and compete regularly and have picked up good habits which they pass on to the other boys.  We would like to get to the national finals as we know that there are scouts in attendance, and I believe we have a couple of boys that could go far in the game.  We want to show them what we are capable of.”

There will be 13 schools competing in the provincial finals on Saturday of which 12 are regional winners and, in a bid to increase the number of schools that participate in KZN, schools not affiliated to a soccer body hosted a regional final with Lyndhurst Primary from New Germany emerging as the winner, and will make up the 13th team on Saturday.

Lyndhurst is a former Model C school coached by Sthe Magwaza, a former learner, and he will be supported by the manager, Dumisani Lembethe.  “Dumisani was my coach when I was at the school and we have an excellent relationship and work well together,” he said.  “There are approximately 10 schools in our area and year on year we compete in the Highway League so competing in the Danone Nations Cup is something new for us.  We are not sure what to expect on Saturday at the provincial finals, but it will be an excellent learning experience for my team to compete against other schools.”

When asked how preparations are going Magwaza said there would be no changes in their style or training methods.  “We do not want to complicate things so we will train as normal and on Saturday we will see how the day unfolds.”

There will be 20 teams competing in the world finals in Spain.  Schools will play their final game of the tournament at the RCDE Stadium (home of La Liga club, Espanyol) in Barcelona, on 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.

Schools competing in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial finals include:

UMLAZIAdams Primary School
ZULULANDBhekuzulu Primary School
UMKHANYAKUDESiyathuthuka Primary School
PINETOWNGeorge Full Service School
KING CETSHWAYOMuzuvukile Primary School
ILEMBEMaqumbi Primary School
AMAJUBAVulindela Primary School
HARRY GWALA (SISONKE)Enqwaga Primary School
UGUDelihlazo Primary School
UMGUNGUNDLOVUSidunge Primary School
UMZINYATHIMandleni Combined Primary School
UTHUKELAWeenen Combined School
KZN INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS Lyndhurst Primary School