The next round of provincial finals in the Danone Nations Cup tournament will be the Free State playoffs at the Clive Solomon Stadium in Bloemfontein on April 13th.
The six schools that won the regional titles in the province will meet on that day, with the eventual winners going on to represent the province at the national finals in Johannesburg in 22 June. The nine provincial champions will play off for the ultimate prize – a trip to London to represent South Africa at the Danone Nations Cup World Finals in September and to meet with ex French international, Zinedine Zidane.
The Free State provincial final tournament will be the third - Rietrivier Primary School came through as the Northern Cape winners, while Siphumele Primary School are winners of KwaZulu-Natal.
The schools that will be playing in the Free State provincial finals are: Monamodi Primary School representing Lejweleputswa Region; Selogile Primary School – Fezile Dabi Region; Luckhoff Combined School – Xhariep Region; Matswathaka Primary School - Thabo Mofutsanyana Region; Emang Primary School – Motheo Region and Tlong- Kganyeng Primary School – Masilonyana Region.
Three time provincial winners and reigning Free State champions, Mofulatshepe Primary School were knocked out at the cluster level this year.
Selogiloe Primary School, from Parys only started participating in the Danone Nations Cup last year. Their coach, Moses Phumo is very happy to have made it this far. “This is a big achievement for us considering we only started participating in the tournament last year. Making it to the provincials two times in a row shows that our efforts and hard work was not in vain.” he said.
“I think we stand a chance of winning the provincial title this time, because we have a much stronger and more confident team. Five of the players from last year’s team are back; they have the experience now and are able to motivate the new players.”
Selogiloe Primary started preparations for 2013 DNC immediately after losing at the provincials last year. “We started grooming the boys in June last year,” Phumo explained. “They have shown commitment and determination. Ever since January, we have been training every day after school and we will continue training throughout the Easter holidays.” Phumo believes that the exit of reigning champions Mofulatshepe Primary is a confidence booster. “Winning the provincial finals will make our school, the community and Parys proud. It’s not going to be easy but I am confident it is achievable.”
The coach sees his captain Mathibe Tshepang, a striker, and defender Motasi Xolile as his key players.
Also at the provincial finals will be Emang Primary School from Thabanchu, near Botshabelo Township. They started participating in the Danone Nations Cup in 2008. This will be their first time at the provincial finals. Their coach, Thibogang Ranosi, says they have been trying for seven years and he is glad that they finally made it. “We persevered, even when times were hard, and the time has now come to show what we are capable of. I know we going to face tougher opponents, but anything is possible. I am proud of my team.”
He singled out his captain, Thapelo Senakgomo, and midfielders Kgathi Tlotlo and Katlego Mapitle as the players in his team to watch.
The next Danone Nations Cup provincial finals will be in Limpopo on April 20. The Danone Nations Cup is an under-12 competition involving thousands of boys and girls from around the world. Danone hopes that each year, more and more children will take part in this sporting event and live their dreams.