School kids’ shot at glory in Danone Cup

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Sport - KGO­MOTSO SETHUSHA kgo­mot­sos@the­newage.

A TOTAL of nine pro­vin­cial teams will be vy­ing for a dream trip to New York at the 2017 U-12 Danone Na­tions Cup na­tional fi­nals to­mor­row.

As many as 100 young­sters will flock to the WJ Cle­ment Sta­dium in Reiger Park, east of Jo­han­nes­burg, where schools from the nine prov­inces will bat­tle it out for the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent South Africa at the world fi­nals tak­ing place in the US in Septem­ber.

The schools earned the rare priv­i­lege to con­test the na­tional fi­nals af­ter win­ning their pro­vin­cial fi­nals.

The teams’ coaches have spent the last week fine-tun­ing, build­ing team spirit and in­still­ing con­fi­dence in the kids ahead of the big day.

Mbishi Mokoena, who guided Benny’s Sports Academy to the na­tional cham­pi­onships last year, had words of ad­vice for this year’s fi­nal­ists.

“I would ad­vise the coaches to al­low the kids to ex­press them­selves and show off their tal­ents. Don’t shout at them from the side of the field,” Mokoena said.

“They have had them since Jan­uary and it is now time to let them show what they have and how they per­form on the big stage.”

The Gaut­eng fi­nals pro­duced 45 goals on the day, more than any other pro­vin­cial fi­nal and there will be high ex­pec­ta­tions on them reach­ing the fi­nals.

Ar­con Park Pri­mary School, coached by Sam Nnete, reached the pro­vin­cial fi­nals for the sec­ond time this year. They pre­vi­ously reached the fi­nal in 2014 but things didn’t go well for them.

“We went back to the draw­ing board af­ter that and be­gan putting to­gether a team that would get us to the na­tion­als. This now is that team,” Nnete said.

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