PHUTHADITJHABA. – The Lesaona Intermediate School has won the 2016 South African Schools Football Association (Sasfa) Thabo Mofutsanyana district McDonald regional tournament.The team of the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality claimed the championship after it had finished at the top of the round-robin finals that were staged at the Phuthaditjhaba Stadium in Qwaqwa on Thursday (30/06).The team won all three of its games by 1-0, 3-2 and 7-0 respectively. They narrowly beat Reikemiseditse Intermediate by 1-0 and the defending champions of the Bodikela Primary School in Bohlokong, Bethlehem, by 3-2, before hammering Masaleng by 7-0 in a one-sided encounter.They finished at the top with nine points, followed by Bodikela with six points. Reikemiseditse finished third with three points and Masaleng was rooted at the foot of the log table without a point.Lesaona will represent the district in this year’s Free State provincial finals, which will be held in Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal from 29 to 30 July. A venue for the games is yet to be confirmed. They will play against the winners from other regions of the Free State. Tshehlana Thabiso, team manager of the champions, said the boys had played very well and added that they deserved a victory. He said it was not a fluke that they have managed to score ten goals in three games, as they had been working on their strategy.“We knew that goals were important in the finals, hence we scored that number. The tournament was very tough, but our preparations were in line with everything that might have come out of the tournament. I am proud of the boys and I am sure that they will keep the momentum going until we come home with the national cup,” he said.He said they would make sure they gave the boys a rest before they start with the training programme in preparation for the provincial finals.“We have played in the provincial finals before during the Sipho Mmutsi Games and we finished second. So we now know what is needed to win the finals,” he said.Serabele Keele, the head coach of the underperforming Masaleng who finished at the bottom of the log table, said a lack of facilities had hindered their preparations and caused them to perform poorly. He said they had been training on a small field, which was why the boys could not cope on the big field. “The boys played well, but fatigue caught up with them. We will have to go back and get a big training field if we want to do well in this kind of tournament in future,” he said.