Free State champs, again

2015-04-30 16:51
THE ?players ?and ?coaches of the Nelson Mandela Primary School soccer team celebrate after the team was crowned the 2015 Danone Nations Cup u.12 Free State champion. From the left are, front: Pakiso Nelani, ?Bokamoso Moloi, ?Tshepang Mathiga, ?Tumel

THE ?players ?and ?coaches of the Nelson Mandela Primary School soccer team celebrate after the team was crowned the 2015 Danone Nations Cup u.12 Free State champion. From the left are, front: Pakiso Nelani, ?Bokamoso Moloi, ?Tshepang Mathiga, ?Tumel

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DIKELEDI SOTHOANE has re-written history after leading the Nelson Mandela Primary School’s boys’ soccer team to a second Danone Nations Cup u.12 victory.

She guided the school to lifting the trophy a second time successively, at the Free State final held in Bloemfontein on the weekend of 21 March. The Sasolburg-based school won 6-5 on penalties against a gutsy Toka Primary from Bloemfontein.

The provincial winner was decided on penalties after the match had ended goalless after regulation time.

Sothoane is the first women’s football coach in the Free State to achieve this feat.

Last year she led the school, formerly known as Credo, to its first win at the provincial final. She inspired her team to a hard-fought 1-0 win over last year’s runner-up, the Meqheleng Primary School from Ficksburg.

Sothoane also became the first women’s soccer coach to lead a team to the national final in 2014. At this year’s national final she will make her second appearance.

Sothoane said she had gone to the Free State final believing her young lads would retain the championship.

There was, however, a moment of panic when her team was crushed in two matches against Thoriso Primary (0-1) and Toka (0-2). However, Sothoane’s boys fought back gallantly to remain in the tournament, beating Mofulatshepe and Matswathaka 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.

The team of Mofulatshepe was the Free State provincial champion from 2009 to 2011 and Sothoane said a win over the former champions was enough motivation for her team to go all the way and lift the trophy after being crowned the 2015 Free State champion.

Sothoane and her young warriors have set their sights on the main challenge: to win the national championship. That will automatically see them representing South Africa at this year’s Danone Nations Cup’s 16th World Finals in Morocco in October

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