The Lutzburg Intermediate School in Kakamas will represent the Northern Cape at the Danone Nations Cup soccer tournament to be hosted at Soweto’s Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday (15/09).The school has extended its heartfelt gratitute to local farmer Aubrey Laubscher for his enormous support in ensuring that the team is fit and ready for the nationals. Laubscher might be a farmer, but he is a sportsman at heart, said school manager, Charles Basson. “He comes to the school every day and helps with the warm-up and coaching. He has also secured sponsorships for kit and equipment. He has been very supportive and has done so much to ensure we are ready for the national finals,” said Basson.Lutzburg is a small school located among the farmlands of Kakamas. According to Basson, most of the players live in poor communities and are often confronted with challenging situations, which affect their play. “As soccer is a team sport, if someone is not pulling his weight, it affects everyone. Here again Aubrey helps by counselling the boys and helping them to re-focus.” The members of the Lutzburg team are looking forward to winning this weekend in order to represent South Africa in the Danone Nations Cup world finals in Spain in 2019.“It is very exciting to be going to the national finals after numerous attempts,” said Basson, a Social and Natural Science teacher at the school. “We are a small school, so our pool of players to select from is limited (which is not the case in most of the other provinces), but we are ready and fit and will do our best in Gauteng. “We will be going all out to be the first Northern Cape school to represent South Africa at the world finals, but I don’t want to put pressure on the boys and I am encouraging them to have fun and just enjoy the moment. “I tell them to have confidence in themselves and play their best, no matter how the other teams play.”Basson does not have any coaching qualifications, but is lauded for his passion for soccer, and he used to be a good player. “I went for trials at Mamelodi Sundowns when I was at high school in the early 90’s, but was unsuccessful. I then went to AmaZulu, where Clive Barker was the coach, but broke my knee during a practice game. After being out of action for a while, I decided to study teaching instead of pursuing a career in soccer.” A player cannot excel without good nutrition, explained Basson, and in that regard the farmer has again come to the schools’ assistance. “Laubscher comes to training armed with food hampers to ensure the players’ nutritional needs are met. “The school does have a feeding scheme, but the hampers are extra, as sportsmen need that additional nutrition to ensure their energy and stamina are kept at optimal level. “This will be important in Gauteng due to the number of games we will be playing on the day,” highlighted Basson in conclusion.