THE defending champions of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, the football tournament that offers the biggest prize money in Africa, Gauteng’s School of Excellence, are safely through to the 2013 provincial playoff stage, having beaten Badirile High School 13-0 in their
Whitey Tshowa, assistant coach of the team, said their progress so far has been expected and that they are looking forward to defending both the provincial and national titles. “Winning is what we strive to achieve in each and every game, we don’t want to disappoint those who support us. We did not lose a single game in the qualifiers,” he said.
It is at this stage that the tournament gets harder, says Tshowa. “We are hard at work preparing for the provincial finals, the boys are continuing with our training programme and we will soon start with the team selection.”
As national winners last year the school received R1 million in prize money, and a further R100 000 as winners of the Gauteng title. Tshowa says they have asked the trust that administers the prize money to fund the upgrading of their 4 fields.
“We want to make them top of the range, to put up shelters on the fields for the technical team and to put in an irrigation system as well,” he said. “We will also be upgrading our gymnasium, getting more exercise equipment, and we want to build a board room specifically for the coaching staff.”
Tshowa said they are not looking at any team as special competition in the upcoming finals. “We take each game as it comes, but I have seen Clapham High School play and they are an aggressive team; in their previous game they beat the other team by eight goals. Nonetheless, we are not scared of them and we look forward to facing them in the upcoming games.”
Striker, Abednego Mosiathlakga, has been identified by Tshowa as a key player in the games to come. The 19 year-old is in grade 12 and has scored five goals in the preliminary stages of the competition.
“He was instrumental in the school qualifying for the provincial finals, and is an exceptionally talented player,” the coach says. “Having been in the Jomo Cosmos development programme for a while has also helped, mainly to build his confidence. He recently left them to complete his schooling.”
Abednego joined the school in 2008 after successfully passing trials. “My father, Abel Mosiathlakga, was a renowned soccer player in North West and I guess I got my genes from him, but I would like to go right to the top and play for Bafana Bafana one day, and the school is giving me the opportunity to be able to achieve my goal,” he said.
While football is his first love and would like to progress with a career in the sport, Abednego is also aware of the importance of his academic schoolwork and is taking extra maths lessons because he is struggling with that subject. “To an extent, soccer is a distraction, but I just need to find a way to balance the two because they are both important in my life,” he said.