Western Cape schools gear up for Danone Nations Cup

The under-12 Idas Valley Primary School soccer team from Stellenbosch has qualified to compete in the Danone Nations Cup Western Cape provincial final taking place at Steenberg High School on Saturday, 25th May.  The school made it to the national finals in 2017 and believe they can do it again with the assistance of some of the players that compete at club level for Stellenbosch Football Club, who were recently promoted to the Premier Soccer League.

There will be six schools competing for the trophy and a chance to represent the province at the national finals taking place in Gauteng on 15th June. 

Idas Valley beat Cloetesville Primary School 3 – 1 in the Winelands regional final to get to the provincials.  “It was a tough match as Cloetesville is a very good soccer school and has some excellent players, but it was our day and we get another chance to repeat our 2017 success,” said coach, Anton Gordon.  “The boys heard how wonderful the trip to Gauteng to compete in the national final was and are hungry to experience it for themselves.”

Gordon has been coaching the under-12 soccer team for many years and he will be assisted by manager, Jo-Ann Baartman.  Neither has a soccer coaching qualification but they have both played the game through school and tertiary education and have a passion for the sport. Gordon was recently made vice principal of the school so his work load has increases substantially, but his love of youth coaching is so great he will continue to make time for that.

“Our final preparations this week comprise three training sessions only. Our one drawback is that we lack a bit of speed this year, but hopefully the boys will peak at the right time. They certainly have the talent including our three exceptional boys that also play for the Stellenbosch Football Club development team.    They will play a key role on Saturday,” said the coach.

The school has produced some star players that have gone on to compete at the highest level.  The most recent is Luke Le Roux, who competed in the Danone Nations Cup in 2013 and currently plays for the under-20 national team.  “We didn’t progress past the regional finals that year, but we produced a great player,” said the coach.

Idas Valley will be competing with Restvale Methodist Primary School (Central Karoo), Masakhane Primary School (Overberg), St Helenabaai Primary School (West Coast), Kuyakhanya Primary School (Cape Town) and Phakamisani Primary School (Eden).

“It won’t be easy as most of the other schools have also competed in the Danone Nations Cup provincial finals at some stage.  I will not take any of them for granted as every year is different with new players and we will take each game as it comes,” concluded Gordon.

The national final winner will join 19 other countries at the world finals taking place in Spain.  The teams will play their final match at the RCDE Stadium (home of La Liga club, Espanyol) in Barcelona, on 12th October.