WELKOM will be hosting the Free State under-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup provincial finals on Saturday at Rovers Club (kickoff 9am). It might well be cold on the day, but on the football field we are expecting some hot action when six regional teams battle it out for the R100 000 prize awarded to the provincial champion.
The Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup is a partnership between Sanlam, the Ubuntu-Botho Community Development Trust and the Motsepe Family Foundation. Launched in 2010, it is the biggest high schools soccer tournament with the largest prize money in the history of South African schools soccer and is open to all South African soccer playing high schools.
The winners and runners-up on Saturday will both be travelling to Bloemfontein from October 2 to 6 where they will meet the top two sides of the other eight provinces to compete for the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup National title and the R1 million that goes with it.
In action will be a number of schools who have enjoyed considerable success in this competition over the years. All eyes will be on Virginia’s Harmony Sports Academy who has represented Free Statesix times and seized the championship trophy three times already!
In the past two years, Harmony has won R1.7million through this tournament for their school – funds that enabled them to invest in a 44-seater school bus, 3 additional vehicles to transport learners and educators on excursions, a television and projector combo for lessons, computers, a sprinkler system and much-needed sports equipment. Moreover, this school decided to spread their winnings even further by donating R20 000 worth of sports equipment to under-resourced neighbouring schools.
Defending champions Dr Reginald Cingo Comprehensive School from the Fezile Dabi region will also be in action on Saturday. The school is situated in Maokeng Township near Kroonstad and this it is their sixth try-out in the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition. Apart from winning the title last year, the team made it to the provincial playoff stage in 2010.
Their coach, Sam Nketu, is very experienced. He has coached in the South African Football Association (SAFA) Second Division League and this is his 10th year with the school team. Nketu believes that, despite having six players back, there is still a lot of work to be done. “We need a lot of improvement, particularly on the right hand side of the field, but I am still confident for Saturday,” he says. Of the players who were in the team last year, Nketu believes striker Lebohang Mokhunoane will make an impact in the provincial finals. “He is a good dribbler and controls the ball well.”
Midfielder Mokete Mojananga was also part of last year’s team that won the provincial title. “He reads the game well, he is an accurate shooter and a good team motivator,” Nketu says.
HTS Louis Botha School from Bloemfontein in the Motheo Region are in the provincial finals of the Sanlam Kay Motspe Schools Cup for the first time, although they have played in the competition for four years.
Their coach, Prince Sani, introduced a system in 2010 of identifying players in grade eight and keeping them together as a team. “I think we were successful in our regional matches this year because the players understand each other they know what is expected of them now.”
Key players in the Louis Botha team are goalkeeper Ofentse Motlhanke and midfielder Charles Hlalela who equally reads the game well and is the team’s current leading goal-scorer.
The other teams that will be in action in Welkom on Saturday are: Ipetleng Secondary School (Xhariep District); Moketa High School (Thabo Mofutsanyana District) and Concordia High School (Lejweleputswa District).