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Danone Nations Cup: St Joseph’s crowned Gauteng champions, progress to nationals

St Joseph’s Kulani Primary School was crowned the 2016 Gauteng champions of the U-12 Danone Nations Cup provincial phase, in Reiger Park, on Saturday, June 11.

With the win, the Pretoria school dethroned one of the tournament’s football heavyweights, Bree Primary, as the best team in Gauteng.

They will now move on to represent the province at the national round, on June 25, at the same venue – WJ Clements Stadium.

Winners of the nationals will represent the country at the world championships, later this year.

The Gauteng provincials included 10 teams – eight district winners and two invitational teams, namely Rosebank Primary and Deutsche Internationale Schule.

The 10 teams were initially divided into two groups, A and B, and slugged it out in a round-robin phase before the two teams which topped both groups met in the final later in the day.

Having championed group B, St Joseph’s faced group A winners Rosebank, before claiming a 1-0 win for the Gauteng crown.

Katelho Lekhuwane in action against Sunnyside.
Katelho Lekhuwane in action against Sunnyside.

The day saw some exciting talent on show and some enterprising football.

Such talents included Sonqoba Primary ace Katelho Lekhuwane, who dazzled the opposition and onlookers alike, with some sublime skill and ball control.

In one of multiple instances, the forward player controlled the ball with his chest from an attacking throw-in against Sunnyside Primary, an astonishing sight for a player his age – especially on our shores.

Deutsche Internationale’s Jeremiah Zimmerman, who also donned jersey number six, like Lekhuwane, and Bree’s Manqoba Ozoemene also stood out.

St Joseph’s players in jubilant spirits following their win.
St Joseph’s players in jubilant spirits following their win.

In one of his team’s goals in a 4-0 rout of Seeiso Primary, Ozoemene took all of the adversary’s defenders to the cleaners before neatly passing the ball past the goalkeeper.

Commenting on his team’s finals win, St Joseph’s coach Themba Mabuzo remains cautious of the task ahead: “Our most frustrating game at the provincials was against the Deutsche Schule. We lost on penalties after we forgot to play our own game and tried to take on theirs. We have to be careful of that at the nationals.”

St Joseph’s has been taking part in the tournament since 2010, but had never advanced beyond the regional level…until now.

 

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