Umqhele set sights on Brazil

2010-09-21 00:00

INAUGURAL South African Schools’ Football Association (Sasfa) Metropolitan U16 champions Umqhele High have vowed to make history by becoming the first South African school to represent the country at the international finals in Brazil next year.

As the Clermont-based school prepare to defend their crown during this week’s national championships, they have already set their sights on the plane to Rio de Janeiro.

This year’s national Metropolitan U16 championships kick off on Thursday and will end on Sunday in East London. The winners of the tournament will compete in Brazil.

According to Umqhele’s team manager, Phendukani Mkhwanazi, his school’s pupils have worked hard to ensure their dream is realised.

“We cannot stumble at the last hurdle after working very hard to ensure we reach as far as we can. Playing last year’s national finals prepared us for this year’s event and for the International Soccer Federation School World Championships in Brazil,” said Mkhwanazi.

Umqhele will be accompanied by Empangeni’s Old Mill High, whom they beat 2-0 at the provincial play-offs at Cato Manor in Durban last month

Competition rules allow the provincial winners and runners-up to take part in the national finals.

Umqhele made history by becoming the first U16 champions, downing Ashdown-based Siyahlomula High 5-4 on penalties in North West last year.

Umqhele’s impressive showing at the provincial tournament got the nod from former South Africa U17 coach and Orlando Pirates legend, Teboho “Chippa” Moloi, who commented: “They stand a good chance to do well at the national play-offs because they are well prepared.”

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