Gauteng will be hosting the second Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Provincial Final at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto on Monday August 10.

Gauteng will be hosting the second Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Provincial Final at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto on Monday August 10. Eight teams will be vying for the R100 000 as the provincial champions and the two teams that make it to the final match will go through to the national finals where they will compete for the R1 million first prize.

Representing the Johannesburg North region at the finals will be Thaba Jabula Secondary School of Soweto who are in the provincial playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year.

Cassius Mpati, their coach, said that the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, sponsored by Sanlam and the Motsepe Foundation, is a tournament they religiously participate in.

“The level of football in this competition is extremely high and we learn something new every year and this year is no different. I think we have a much better chance of winning the provincials as we have home ground advantage. The Nike Centre is also our training ground. The nationals will also be played at the same venue in October and we are gunning for the R1 million,” he said.

Mpati points out that the 2013 provincials were played in Mamelodi and Clapham won; and, in 2014 they we played in Soshanguve and Holy Trinity won. That is a good sign because this year the finals are in their home town of Soweto.

But Mpati realises that it will not be easy. “We have grown and learnt a lot over the past three years, but there is not a single level that is easy to accomplish. You need to focus on what the objective is. Preserving energy is key to the success of the tournament as each team plays a minimum of three games in a day and in the national finals this is for three consecutive days. Last year we went to the nationals and didn’t do as well as I thought we would but it was the team’s first time there and nerves and anxiety got the better of them.”

This year’s team is made up primarily with players from the under-17 team, Mpati said. “We have lost a number of players due to them being over age and some having finished school. We have not scored as many goals this year as I had hoped, but we are working on this.”

However his team will be boosted by two players that form part of the Kaizer Chiefs Youth Academy, including Given Thibedi and Happy Mashiane. “They are new to this tournament but have adjusted very well, and have been able to use the experience that they receive at Kaizer Chiefs.’

Mpati said that the school has galvanised the parents support. “We need a crowd on our side so I have roped in the support of parents. This is good motivation for the players to do well. It’s going to be a public holiday, so I am predicting the community members to show up and support Thaba Jabula.”

The school has also arranged for Papi Khomane a former Thaba Jabula student who played for the SA national team and for Orlando Pirates to come to the school and motivate the team. “The team needs such talks with former soccer players who can give them words of encouragement and advise as to how each player can prepare for a match,” Mpati said.

The teams participating in the Gauteng finals are:

• SAFA Transnet Football School-Ekurhuleni North District
• Clapham High School-Tshwane North District
• Soshanguve East Sec School-Tshwane West District
• Madiba Secondary School-Gauteng West District
• M.O.M Sebone High School-Gauteng East
• Alexandra High School-JHB East
• Thaba Jabula -JHB North District
• Mohloli Secondary School -Sedibeng East District