KGETLENG Primary School from Swartruggens in the Ngaka Modiri Molema district, have booked their place in next month’s Danone Nations Cup national finals by winning the North West provincial title of the competition.
They beat Agisanang Primary School in the final, played at the Ikageng Stadium in Potchefstroom last weekend and will be competing in Boksburg against the other eight provincial champions for the national title and, with it, a trip to Brazil to play in the Danone Nations Cup world finals.
After years of competing in the tournament, this is the first time they have reached the nationals, said an excited team manager, Benjamin Ngcuka. “2014 is definitely our year,” he said. “We have waited a long time for this win and the school and the team are excited and have not stopped celebrating since Saturday. After we got back from the game, we paraded around the neighbourhood informing the community that we won the provincial final and we will be representing North West in Gauteng and they joined in and celebrated with us.”
Ngcuka said that the provincial finals were tough, but the team enjoyed themselves. “We played well as a team, but we do need to work on individual skills,” he said. “Some of the boys waste balls and they lack the finishing touch. I will have one-on-one training sessions ahead of the national finals to remedy this.”
Of excitement to the boys was the fact that a member of the North West Bokamoso Youth Soccer Academy attended the provincial finals and they are hoping that some might be scouted to join up with them. “Some of our boys have already attended trials for the local PSL club, Platinum Stars, and having more scouts at this tournament gives the boys a second chance,” said Ngcuka.
“But the main thing is that the boys develop a love of the sport as with this comes passion and the drive to take the sport to greater heights,”
Ngcuka said. “We want to see them playing for PSL teams or even the national team one day and are doing everything in our powers to ensure that they are successful.”
Looking ahead to the national finals, Ngcuka said they are going to play as many friendly games as possible, but admits you can never be fully prepared for any tournament. “Our focus will be on ball skills, tackling and scoring techniques. That’s were our team’s downfall lies most of the time, so tackling those issue before is crucial for the team. “
The mental side is also important and Ngcuka said he tells the players not to underestimate their own soccer skills and capabilities, just because a school is from Gauteng it does not mean that they are better than the rest.
“All they need to do is play like they have been playing throughout the tournament and don’t take into account the province the school comes from,” he said.