By FOCUS REPORTER
Groutville High School from the Ilembe Region were crowned the KwaZulu Natal Copa Coca-Cola Provincial winners after beating
Shayamoya High School from Sisonke Region 4-3 on penalties, after the full time score ended in a one all draw.
the finals took place in Empangeni at the Umhlathuze Stadium, the home of National First Division club, Thanda Royal Zulu.
Both teams were first time Copa Coca-Cola contenders. Shayamoya looked the more determined team when they took to the field for their final match and
opened the scoring 20 minutes into the game. Groutville, who had played an impressive semifinal against Siyahlomula High winning 4 – 2 just prior to
the match, were visibly tired and did not look like they could match their on-form opponents. But football is unpredictable and Groutville gradually
worked their way back into the game and were rewarded when Sandile “Sdumo” Gumede netted the equalizer fifteen minutes into the second half.
It was then time for the penalty shoot out and it was the Groutville players who managed to squash the nerves thereby edging out their opponents.
But Shayamoya did not go home empty handed as their players took home all the top achievement awards: Top goal scorer: Mlungisi Mdwebu, Player of
the tournament: Mzingizi Chiya (defender) and Goal keeper of the tournament: Xolile Dayi Siza Blaai, Groutville High School Coach, admitted the game was a tough one:”The boys were held under pressure by a really good team which looked comfortable against us. We put too much into our semifinal game. We even had time to rest while watching our opportunity beat Enyanyeni High 3-2 on penalties during their semifinals. But we took our chances and we won and that is what counts. I am very proud of the boys and we look forward to the road to the national finals in Kimberley.
The boys are upbeat and have promised to work hard to try and bring the national championship trophy home.”
“Copa Coca-Cola creates a wonderful opportunity to get young aspiring players to focus on what they love: playing football and developing their
skills as well as living an active lifestyle,” said Themba Nobanda, Coca-Cola Brand Manager. “This sponsorship provides Coca-Cola with the
platform to reach future South African football stars, role models and decision makers and we encourage them to set goals. What was so good about
this weekend was to see teams that have never competed in a previous Copa Coca-Cola doing so well which means we are broadening our base.”
Groutville High win R40 000 as the KwaZulu Natal Provincial winner with the National Finals being their next challenge happening at the Galeshewe
Stadium in Kimberley from 31th March to 2nd April. The national winner will take home R150 000 worth of school or sport equipment for their school.