DESPITE the bitterly cold conditions, fans supporting Johannesburg Secondary School came in numbers to support their team in the under-15 COPA Coca-Cola football final that took place at the Nike Football Centre in Soweto. Johannesburg, boosted by players form Orlando Pirates Academy, was too strong for the newcomers from the Free State, Bodikela Secondary School whom they beat 4 – 0.
“This is a fantastic achievement for our school,” said Johannesburg Secondary School captain, Thula Thabethe who was recruited into the Orlando Pirates academy in 2009 when spotted in a tournament in Umlazi.
“Although I am a defender, I still managed to score in this tournament which has given me such confidence as a captain as I successfully managed the team as well as play well,” said Thabethe. “I picked up an injury in the semifinal and I was worried that my coach would not play me but it worked out well.”
Johannesburg Secondary School lost one game in the tournament and that was against Lehlasedi from Mpumalanga in their final League game. “This loss was an eye opener for me,” said Thabethe. “That one game taught me that no matter how good your opponents might appear, they can be beaten. Meanwhile we looked at the team as underdogs so one should never feel complacent. I watched most of the games and I saw teams that were losing fight back and win which showed such spirit and determination.”
For Bodikela captain, Tokelo Mofokeng, just getting to the finals was a learning experience. “We have never played in COPA Coca-Cola before so getting to the final is such an achievement. I scored the winning goal against Lehlasedi (Mpumalanga) to put us in the finals and that was a great feeling.”
Playing on Astroturf was also a new experience for Mofokeng. “I am used to playing on a bumpy surface and on Astroturf there can be no excuses. If a player makes a mistake it is due to him not being composed. I will definitely go home as a better player,” said the youngster who is hoping to be noticed by the School of Excellent. “This is where Steven Pienaar learnt to play, and he also competed in a Coca-Cola development tournament.”
Johannesburg Secondary School won R150 000 as COPA Coca-Cola champions while Bodikela won R50 000 and Lehlasedi High School from Mpumalanga take home R20 000 for their third place finish.
Johannesburg also scooped the two awards on offer: Sibusiso Dlamini was the top goalscorer and Nkululeko Noguda the top goalkeeper.
Bodikela 1 vs Lehlasedi 0
GOAL: Tokelo Mofokeng
Johannesburg 4 vs Robinvale 0
GOALS: Thula Thabethe (2), Sibusiso Dlamini (2)
Arefadimeng 3 vs Steinkopf 0
GOALS: Zamile Ntsume, Thamsanqa Molutsi (2)
Position 3 / 4
Lehlasedi (0) 4 vs Robinvale (0) 1
Lehlasedi won 4 – 1 0n penalties
Johannesburg 4 vs Bodikela 0
GOALS: Sibusiso Dlamini (4)
6. Steinkopf High School (Northern Cape)
5. Arefadimeng Secondary School (North West)
4. Robinvale High School (WC)
3. Lehlasedi High School (Mpumalanga)
2. Bodikela Junior Secondary School (Free State)
1. Johannesburg Secondary School (Gauteng)