It's all systems go for Metropolitan Under-16 Cup

The 2010 edition of the Metropolitan SASFA Under-16 Cup got under way with an official launch ceremony at the Regent Hotel on Tuesday.

 Teams from all nine provinces have gathered in the Eastern Cape to determine the national champions, with the added incentive awaiting the winners of a trip to Brazil to represent South Africa at next year’s International Soccer Federation World Schools Championship.

 The action kicks off on Thursday, September 23 at 8am, culminating in the final on Sunday September 26 at 3pm, with all matches taking place at the Gompo Stadium in Duncan Village, East London. Entry is free for spectators.

 The 18-team competition is comprised of the two best-finishing schools from each of the nine provincial finals and include Sigweje Secondary School and Mphanama Comprehensive High (Mpumalanga); Sol Plaatjie Secondary School and Seiphemelo Secondary School (North West); Rietvale High and Steinkopf High School (Northern Cape); Umqhele Public Secondary School and Old Mill School (KwaZulu-Natal); Belgravia School and Robinvale High School (Western Cape); Sijabulile Secondary School and Rosina Sedibane Modiba School (Gauteng); Bernice Sport School and Hudson Ntsanwisi (Limpopo); Malcomess Senior Secondary School and Thanga Senior Secondary School (Eastern Cape) and HoŃ‘r Tegniese Skool Louis Botha and Ntsu Secondary School (Free State).

 Metropolitan general manager: Corporate Affairs, Christabell Kota opened proceedings: “It’s great to be back in the Eastern Cape again; we had a great provincial final two weeks ago. At Metropolitan, we have pulled out all the stops to conduct the tournament to the highest standards of fair play and that all players will perform in the true spirit of sportsmanship, inspired by the once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their school and country in Brazil. Above all, Metropolitan’s policy of holistic youth development aims to ensure that the occasion is one of high performance, fun and enjoyment,” she said.

 As sponsor of the tournament, Metropolitan’s partnership with SASFA is founded on creating opportunities to develop South Africa’s young talent from an early age through emphasising the principles of teamwork and determination that will lead them to become well rounded adults. In keeping with the focus on community youth development, a Life Skills component forms part of every Metropolitan-sponsored tournament. Whereas previously this was conducted during the national championship, in a move aimed at spending more time with the players and creating an environment for open dialogue, Metropolitan’s team of CSI specialists have travelled to four provinces to address the players at schools that have made it to the national finals.

 The sessions for the remaining five provinces will be held on the 23rd September in East London. Players and their technical teams will also be presented with a DVD covering the following lifeskills topics: Building Your Own Identity; The Power of Media; Money Matters and HIV & Me. All these topics are presented by Metropolitan team members.

 President of the South African Schools Football Association in the Eastern Cape, Andile Sapo commented, “We are honoured that Metropolitan and SASFA National have seen it fit to bring a tournament of this stature to the Eastern Cape. We have been hard at work preparing for this national event, the first to be held in our province. Our commitment is to bring events of this magnitude to our communities, and we are excited that Gompo and the surrounds will have an opportunity to host us.”

 Metropolitan has partnered with respected coach and former Orlando Pirates and Bafana midfielder, Teboho Moloi, as a mentor and ambassador for the competition. Moloi, in the lead up to the championship, has visited schools in seven provinces where he has been conducting coaching clinics for the qualified schools in preparation for the national finals in Buffalo City Municipality. Due to the time lost during the strike, not all the schools received their sessions, with Free State and Gauteng scheduled to have them after the national finals. “It is important for Metropolitan that we connect with as many communities as possible. Our partnership with SASFA gives us an opportunity to do so. We use our experience to improve the delivery and standard of each event.

 In the past six years, we have held events in all provinces across South Africa and would like to believe that we have impacted those communities positively – from leaving upgraded stadia, empowering local suppliers to sharing business management knowledge with administrators. Most importantly we have given youngsters an opportunity to play or watch football in a professional environment that takes them away from undue influence” concluded Kota.

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