A culmination of hard work

2011-03-15 00:00

GROUTVILLE High School will represent the province at the national Copa Coca-Cola finals scheduled for the Northern Cape from March 30 until April 2 this year.

This after they beat Shayamoya 5-4 on penalties during the provincial playoffs that took place at Veldenvlei Sports Complex in Richardsbay at the weekend.

Teacher-cum-coach Siza Blaai was pleased with the school’s achievement, saying: “It was the culmination of hard work.”

Blaai said they drew on the experience of participating in last year’s Kay Motsepe tournament where they lost at the semis. “The boys were sad about losing at that Ceza school last year. Now they are determined to put that disappointment behind them by getting things right this time.

“You could see during the group phase the willingness and dedication in their play and we are glad it paid off in the end,” said Blaai, whose schools are reigning Mr Price U18 champions.

Since Groutville High will be partici­pating at the national event for the first time, they have decided to design a special training programme for the players.

“Our aim is to represent the province and let talent scouts see for themselves that our school is teeming with talented pupils who just need to be plucked away from the disadvantaged area we are in and let them showcase their potential on a bigger stage,” said Blaai.

Pietermaritzburg’s Siyahlomula Secondary, who won the Metropolitan Sasfa U16 cup two years ago, exited at the Coca-Cola event at the quarter finals.

There’s every reason that the Groutville pupils should be geared up for the Northern Cape event. Winning on the national stage will see them walk away with a R150 000 cheque and possibly have one or two players follow in the footsteps of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates’ Andile Jali, and Kaizer Chiefs’ Mandla Masango and Excellent Walaza.

The trio got their exposure through this tournament.

Anthony Garstang, brand experience manager, Coca-Cola South Africa, says of the competition: “Coca-Cola promotes ongoing youth development through our active lifestyle platform and Copa Coca-Cola is one of the initiatives that helps us achieve our goal. We further encourage young sportspeople on the need for healthy hydration with Coca-Cola’s preservative-free sports drink, Powerade.

“We are also encouraged to assist the winning schools in enhancing the quality of their sporting and academic priorities,” explains Garstang.

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