The Transet SAFA School of Excellence under-19 soccer team won the Gauteng provincial title in the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition in Soweto on Monday, beating Clapham High School 1-0 in the final.

The Transet SAFA School of Excellence under-19 soccer team won the Gauteng provincial title in the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup competition in Soweto on Monday, beating Clapham High School 1 – 0 in the final.

They will be going to the National finals in October, hoping to emulate the school’s 2012 side, who went one further, winning the national title that year and getting the R1 million first prize.

Gavin Silango, the team’s coach, said it’s great to be back at the top of the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup. “Since 2012 we have been working towards building a very strong team and I can safely say this is our strongest team by far,” he said. “The boys have been doing exceptionally well since the cluster games began. The majority of the team is in grade 12 and as this is their exit year they want to leave behind a legacy – which is to win money for the school.”

Good preparation is the key to success, Silango believes, and this team started early. “We knew what our goal was and still is, and we worked very hard towards achieving that goal,” he said.

The School of Excellence has always focused on individual development. “It’s a tradition at the school and I think that’s what got me interested in working here,” Silango said.

“Our style of football is different to other teams, it’s exciting, interesting to watch and has a South African flair to it.”

“We believe in fully developing a player individually and making sure that they understand themselves and their roles within a team.”

At the provincial finals, the team was very high in spirits and confidence. “Our plan as the technical team was not to put any pressure on the players and to leave them to showcase what we have taught them. It also gives us insight into how they have understood instruction as well as playing under pressure,” said Silango

When the draw was announced, with Clapham in the other group, they knew that they will be facing them in the final, Silango said. “We were ready for them.  We know that Clapham educates the boys from the Mamelodi Sundowns Academy and we have no players attached to any academy, but our school has a history of developing good players.  Last year we gave four of our players to Wits University.  Both schools have won the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup before and we both had a point to prove in the final match. We have also faced each other on many occasions in our local league and in other tournaments. In terms of success rate against Clapham I can say that we are 50/50, but we were the best team this time.”

October seems far away, but preparations for the nationals start immediately, Silango said. “We will continue training like we have been, playing in local leagues and arranging a few friendly games just to prep the team.

“I was happy with how the team performed on Saturday, the defence is good and tight, but we need to work on our finishing touch. We had a lot of missed opportunities to score goals especially in the final game against Clapham. We would have loved to win by 3 to 4 goals. We will definitely make up for it in the nationals.”

Silango started coaching at the school in 2010 and is the first goalkeeper to coach at the school. He played as a ‘keeper for Jomo Cosmos, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns before injury cut his career short and since then has done a first year course in goalkeeping coaching and has been goalkeeping coach for Banyana Banyana and the Mamelodi Sundowns development team.

“The goalkeeper is a key position in a team they are the first attacker and the last defender for the team so it’s important for a team to have a great ‘keeper,” he believes.

“My passion has always been development, he said. “I love working with talented kids. We scout for players all over the country and we find naturally talented players. That’s the best part of my job, unearthing talented players and making them PSL material.”

Results:

School of Excellence 1 vs Mohloli 0

Thaba-Jabula 3 vs Soshanguve East 0

Madiba Sec 2 vs Alexander 0

Clapham 3 vs M.O.M Seboni 0

Mohloli 1 vs Thaba-Jabula 1

Soshanguve East 0 vs School of Excellence 4

Alexander 0 vs Clapham 4

M.O.M Seboni 2 vs Madiba 0

Thaba-Jabula 0 vs School of Excellence 1

Mohloli 2 vs Soshanguve East 0

Clapham 2 vs Madiba 0

Alexander High 0 vs M.O.M Seboni 5

Final: Clapham 0 vs School of Excellence 1

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