Schools gear up for the Danone Nations Cup challenge

Van Rensburg Primary School players receive their trophy.

Schools are finalising their under-12 soccer teams in preparation for the first round of the Danone Nations Cup (DNC) fixtures.

Over 3 000 primary schools from various parts of the country are expected to enter the tournament.

The tournament will start on Saturday, February 25.

Back in action again this year are the 2016 Northern Cape provincial champions, Van Rensburg Primary School, runners-up, Beacon Primary School, and 2014 and 2015 provincial champs, Roodepan Primary School.

All three schools have admitted that getting the team ready has not been easy as many of the players have to juggle their athletics with their soccer as the first school term is traditionally athletics season.

Van Rensburg finished in the fifth position at the 2016 national finals. Team manager, Wallace Marolla who has been with the team since 2008, is looking forward to reaching the world finals.

All of last year’s players are now either in high school or too old to play, so he will be introducing his team to the DNC for the first time this year.

“It will be challenging to get the new team to the level of last year’s players.

“What helps is that every player knows about the competition and is excited to play,” said Marolla.

There are no changes to the coaching department at Van Rensburg this year, Bevin Madolla will be back at the helm again.

Ian Davids, manager of the Beacon Primary School said it took them five years to make it to the provincials, which they did last year, only to lose to Van Rensburg in the provincial final due to a silly mistake in the dying minutes of the game.

None of their players from last year are qualified either, so trials are on. “What helps is that many of the players play club soccer, so they understand the basics of the game,” said Davids.

Overall champions will represent the country at the Danone Nations Cup International Finals.

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Hosea Mothei
Sorts Journalist

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