Haggai Combined Private School from Makhado are the provincial winners of the u.12 2017 Danone Cup and will represent the province at the national finals to be contested in Gauteng on 1 July.
They were declared the winners after finishing top of the log with12 points in the round-robin phase played at Hoërskool Noorderland on Saturday.
Haggai collected maximum points against Kgwahlele Primary School from Waterberg, Thapola-A-Nkona from Mopani and Capricorn’s Megoring Primary School whom they defeated in their group matches.
Team coach Justice Matloga said their victory was very special. He joined the school in 2015 and getting this far in any competition was a first for the school.
“This was the first time that these players had played in a tournament of this size and I was concerned about how they would handle the pressure. The team started off really slow and I thought they wouldn’t manage against other schools that had many years of experience in the campaign,” Matloga said.
He singled out exciting midfielder Hlonipho Nkosi as the player who made the greatest contribution for the team. “He is small in stature but has a great attitude on and off the field. He scored six goals in the four matches that he played. He has a great way of controlling the ball and executing scoring opportunities.”
Hlonipho hails from Thembisa and was recruited by Matloga’s Greenway Academy.
Matloga admitted that there was plenty of work that needed to be done before the national finals in July. “We need to concentrate on our defence. We made mistakes at the provincial finals that could cost us a chance of winning the national cup. There is a lack of communication between the players that needs to be sorted out,” concluded Matloga.
Story and photos: Herbert Rachuene