Team chase global title

2016-07-06 06:00
CHAMPIONS: The team of Benny’s Sports Development and Academy stet from Louis Trichard are this year’s 2016 Danone Nations Cup national champions after winning the title in Boksburg. Photo: Supplied

CHAMPIONS: The team of Benny’s Sports Development and Academy stet from Louis Trichard are this year’s 2016 Danone Nations Cup national champions after winning the title in Boksburg. Photo: Supplied

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QWAQWA. – The dream the Danone Free State champion, Witsieshoek Primary School, had of representing South Africa in the Danone Nations Cup World Finals has gone up in smoke.

This was after the team of the Qwaqwa-based school had produced a disappointing performance at the national championships, losing all its games by a 1-0 margin.

The country will, however, be represented at the World Cup finals in France from 14 to 16 October by Benny’s Sports Development and Academy from Louis Trichardt.

They have won this year’s Danone Nations Cup national champions title in Boksburg last weekend. They are the first school from Limpopo to take the title and the first sports development school to win it.

They beat the North West champions, BM Mokitime Primary School, in a penalty shootout, after a closely contested final ended goalless. BM Mokitime came into the finals as favourites after an impressive performance in the provincial finals.

Benny’s coach, Mbishi Mokwena, said the tournament was about believing in your dreams and his dream since January had been to win it.

“We had been following the tournament religiously on Facebook. We knew who had gone through to the finals, had investigated the type of football they played and the quality of players and we prepared accordingly,” Mokwena said.

His team went into the nationals focused, confident, quiet and determined, he said. The night prior to the nationals, while the kids from the other schools were having fun, his boys decided to stay focused and not to let the bright lights of Johannesburg get to them.

“We remained focused on the task ahead,” Mokwena said.

“I was nervous about playing BM Mokitime in the final. They had won all their games, whereas two of our games ended in a draw, and I had known prior to the nationals that they were a good side.”

The coach said that he did not change anything in the run-up to the nationals.

“Team changes or changes in strategy can throw players this young off their stride, so we did what we normally do in the week prior to the nationals.”

Benny’s were in a tough pool at the nationals. They were grouped with former national champions Barkerville Primary, but they beat them on penalties.

The learners are on school holiday, so they will have to wait a while for the real celebrations to begin, but preparations for the world finals are already under way.

“We have asked for videos of previous world final games to help us prepare.”

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