Soccer: Easter Tournament is youngsters’ chance to shine

2011-04-20 00:00

THE players and coaches are ready to battle it out in the 38th annual Pietermaritzburg and District Soccer Association (Padsa) Easter Tournament, which kicks off on Friday and will end on Easter Monday.

Teams from other provinces, including Gauteng and Eastern Cape, are expected to take part in the tournament.

Maritzburg Sporting Under-13 middle fielder Thabiso Dlamini said this is the first time he is playing in the Easter Tournament, and he is very excited. “Playing in the middle of the park is what I am good at and this is my chance to prove it,” he added.

Said Dharion Marie, a player for Maritzburg Sporting Under-11,“I have been playing for this team for almost a year now and we train very hard. With our preparations being in place, I am pretty sure we are going to win the tournament.”

Dharion said his aim is to improve on last year’s poor performance and that he has learnt from his mistakes.

Lorenzo Sebastian said that last year he did not play in the tournament because he did not have a side to play for. Being part of the Maritzburg Sporting Under-11 has given him a chance to play in the Easter tournament for the first time.

“Coach David has been good to us, teaching the basics that we need to compete in the competition. Our training sessions have been very intense and we are ready.”.

The chairperson and head of Maritzburg Sporting, David Pillay, said he has about 120 players who will be representing the club in the tournament, from junior to senior teams.

Having established the team 10 years ago, Pillay said his main focus and passion is the children. Most of them come from poor families around the northern suburbs.

“We have trained very hard for this tournament since January because this is a very important event,” he said.

He boasts that his Under-11s have won the tournament twice in the past three years and on his side it is all systems go.

Leicester City Under-13 head coach Brendon Ashby said: “My guys have been training hard for the past two months and I feel that they are ready to compete in the tournament.”

More important than winning, he said, is “for the boys to go out there and have fun at a competitive level. It is important for them to interact with other children from the different soccer regions in Pietermaritzburg,” said Ashby.

The tournament has been sponsored by Paul’s Panel Shop, Selford Wholesalers and CBS Construction and Civils.

The president of Padsa, Sunny Naidoo, said the doors are still open if there is anyone willing to sponsor the tournament in any way. Padsa would weclome additional sponsorship.

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