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​School football teams are hard at work training for the Kay Motsepe Cup, the most lucrative schools soccer tournament.
JOBURG high schools are training hard on the football pitch in a quest to bring the Kay Motsepe Cup to the city. Entries officially opened on 1 February and will close on 9 March.

Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools CupThe annual competition gives schools countrywide the opportunity to show off their talent. With R3,4-million up for grabs in prize money, it is by far the biggest and most lucrative of school competitions – at stake is R1-million in first prize, R600 000 for second place, R500 000 for third and R400 000 for fourth. Each provincial winner gets R100 000.

More than 3 000 schools from all nine provinces participate every year. Competitions start in clusters, moving on to the regional and provincial levels, before advancing to the national level. Played under the auspices of the South African Schools Football Association, Sasfa, the tournament seems to be getting tougher by the year.

And participants are raising the bar on the training grounds to match the standards. Among those preparing intensely for the top billing tournament are the fourth runners up of 2011 – Johannesburg Secondary School in Mayfair. The team’s manager, Joseph Modiba, said his boys were pulling out all the stops in training.

“We are going to be participating in other small tournaments to ensure that we are fit enough to take on other schools in the province and the country when Kay Motsepe gets under way. There is tough competition out there,” he said.

“The fact that we have some of our players in big football academies such as Orlando Pirates is a plus for us. We are back at training and the boys are working hard. On weekends we ensure that we train at least two times a day.”

With the team’s preparations well under way, Modiba is confident that the giant trophy will be in Joburg at the end of it all. “We learned from the mistakes of last year. This year we are going to assemble a formidable team. I tell you the boys are hungry for success.”

Last year, first prize went to Harmony High School in Free State, while Westridge High School from Mitchell’s Plain in Western Cape took second prize. Third prize went to Ncedo High School in Eastern Cape.

All schools
The competition is open to all schools across the nine provinces, including public and private schools, from all corners – whether in the townships or in rural areas. It is supported by the financial services group, Sanlam, the Motsepe Family Foundation and Ubuntu Botho Trust.

Harmony High Schools celebrates winning the 2011 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools CupHarmony High School soccer team celebrate winning the 2011 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools CupIn addition to the prizes, the tournament is a great opportunity for aspiring footballers to realise their dream. Football scouts from Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club will be standing on the touchline looking for those with exceptional talent. The scouts will be doing as many rounds as possible.

Frank Louw, Sanlam’s sponsorship manager, explained: “One of the key objectives of this sponsorship is to get as many football players as possible between the ages of 15 and 19 to compete and possibly to be seen by soccer scouts. Players who stand out will be recruited into development structures to be nurtured and shaped into professional footballers.

“To be able to achieve this, we need to encourage all schools to register no matter where they are situated. They have until 9 March 2012 to do so,” he concluded.

The Motsepe Family Foundation spokesperson, Kenneth Makhaya, encouraged participants to believe in their dreams.

The prize money is to be used for any development project that enhances or advances the mission and objectives of the winning school and its immediate community – be it building extra classrooms, investing in computers, upgrading computer centres or upgrading soccer pitches.

The tournament was founded by the Mamelodi Sundowns boss and mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, through the Motsepe Family Foundation in memory of his mother, Kay Motsepe.

For registrations, contact Nelson Balebesi of Sasfa on 011 567 28 24 or Frank Louw of Sanlam on 021 947 2093.

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