By FOCUS REPORTER
AFTER an exciting four months of playing in the Nestlé MILO Champions tournament, the field has finally been narrowed down to the top nine provincial schools from around South Africa, who will battle it out for the national title.
With R100 000 at stake for the school which will emerge as winners where in nine provincial winners will lock-horns on Saturday, Septermber 11 at the new Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto.
Each school had a great opportunity to prepare for the finals when Mark Fish, former Bafana Bafana defender and Nestlé MILO Brand Ambassador, toured South Africa and hosted a coaching clinic at each of the winning schools. The aim of the clinics was to prepare the teams for peak performance at the National Final and to drive home the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. Each school also won R10 000.00 to invest into their school in addition to the coaching clinic.
At the end of last year, the Nestlé MILO Champions Tournament formed part of Nestlé’s Global Healthy Kids Programme which aims to raise nutrition, health and wellness awareness of school-going children around the world. Through the Nestlé MILO Champions tournament, Nestlé South Africa continues to positively influence the youth of South Africa by actively promoting the importance of regular physical activity for a healthy lifestyle.
The national co-ordinator of the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA), Themba Tshabalala, said, “It has been another successful year, with this tournament growing from strength to strength.
The winning school will receive an investment worth R100 000 for the school’s sports and/or wellness infrastructures. The schools finishing in second and third positions will receive investments worth R75 000 and R50 000, respectively”. Tshabalala added that he was looking forward to an exciting final having seen a major improvement in the performance of the schools since last year.
It seems the battle has already started off the field, with school coaches having strong words ahead of the weekend’s event. With only one out of the nine schools having taken part in last year’s national finals, many are not sure what to expect but have been working hard to make sure they make their province proud. One coach commented that the boys are excited about playing in the finals, as they will receive their very own soccer kit including a pair of boots, having previously played the provincial finals bare foot. Playing the finals in Johannesburg is an added bonus for many of the boys, as some of them have never been to the cosmopolitan city before.
According to Sullivan O’Carroll, Chairman and Managing Director of Nestlé South Africa, “Funding a tournament like this is not just about soccer but it gives us an opportunity to show South African children the importance of sports and leading healthy lifestyles.” He also added that it was a great platform to educate the thousands of school children involved in the tournament about the important values of Nutrition, Health and Wellness.
The nine primary schools to take part in the national championships are Mahlasedi from Gauteng, Madika (Limpopo), J. Kananda (Mpumalanga), Mthethemusha (KwaZulu-Natal), Okiep (Northern Cape), Reygersdal (Western Cape), Ntsoanatsatsi (Free State), Vulamazibuko (Eastern Cape) and Odi (North West)