Rustenburg’s Keledi Secondary School has qualified to play in the North West Uunder-19 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup provincial finals in their first year of entering the competition.
The finals will be held at the Montshiwa Stadium in Mafikeng on Saturday 12th September and Lawrence Sedumedi, the team’s manager, is confident that they will proceed from there to the national finals in Soweto from 7th to 10th October.
Keledi is the school that the players in the Platinum Stars Academy attend and that, according to Sedumedi has made all the difference.
“We have 17 players that are part of the academy, the partnership with Platinum Stars started last year and since then it has been growing tremendously,” he said. “We have Kobamelo Kodisang, an attacking midfielder who has been selected for the under 17 national team that will compete in the under 17 FIFA World Cup coming up between the 17th October to the 8th November, and Charles Baloyi an exceptional midfielder who also plays for the under 17 national team.
“We have always been a school that takes sports seriously, but having the backing of Platinum Stars academy has really boosted the schools performance in soccer.”
Sedumedi said that, while he knew about the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup before, his previous teams were not ready for it. “Last year was the first time the players from Platinum Stars joined us. I didn’t want to put them under pressure so decided I would use the year to build the team. I wanted to enter this tournament with a strong team and I believe that I have one now,” he said.
Last year’s programme included many friendly games as preparation and Sedumedi feels they are ready this year.
“It’s a huge achievement to qualify for the provincials in our first outing in the tournament,” he said. “There are teams that have been playing since the tournament started who have never reached this level.”
The team is a young one, made up mainly of 16 and 17 year-olds, so they will all still be around next year. “I wanted a team that will play for two years for the school, not having to start afresh every year,” Sedumedi said.
The players are experienced as they play for the Platinum Stars Academy in ABC Motsepe League and SAB Castle League. So they are used to the pressure of high level competitions and that should be to their advantage, Sedumedi believes.
“They have excelled so far, but I knew that they would. They have worked very hard preparing for this tournament. We are just waiting for the 12th September to come so that we take the title, and then focus on the national finals. That’s where we see ourselves, we want to be in the nationals and compete for the national title.”
The teams participating in the provincial finals are:
Hoerskool Zeerust-Ngaka M Molema District
Tshedimosetso Secondary School-Dr Kenneth Kaunda District
Keledi Secondary School-Bojanala District
Ithuteng Secondary School-Dr R Mompati District