Picture: Buntu Gotywa
Kuyakhanya’s coach Thabo Madlatu said as a school they are proud of this achievement, as it will open opportunities for many of their young talented players.
“We started from the districts and then played in the regionals. It was very hard because the teams we met were very tough but we managed to play for the Western Cape. Now we will go into the nationals in Port Elizabeth.
“Going into the nationals, they should push harder and never give up. I know it will be hard because they will be playing against the best, but should remember they are also the best,” he said.
Madlatu said this is an opportunity for the team to also introduce young players from the primary school.
“The nationals are in PE and will take place from September 26 to 29. We are going to promote the youngsters from the juniors up into the first team,” he said.
Madlatu hailed the cup as a good way to discover talent.
“It’s very important. It’s good communication for the youngsters to get this kind of exposure. Many of them have a lot of talent and with scouts around and Jabu Mahlangu around, it motivates them to play even harder,” he said.
Copa Coca Cola Cup brand ambassador and former SuperSport veteran, Jabu Mahlangu said after the provinces have battled it out , they will form one team from the best players chosen.
“They will then go and train at Tuks in Pretoria at the High Performance Centre. We will invite the PSL and SuperSport scouts for exposure.
“And it doesn’t end there, because while they are at camp, they will play two or three friendlies against PSL academy teams so that they will also have an opportunity to be chosen by those academies,” he said.
Mahlangu said the cup has produced some big names in the football industry.
“This is bigger than we think. In the under-17 national team currently in Mauritius we have 45 players that are products of the Copa Coca Cola Cup. We can name some of the international players that came from the cup, including Mandla Masango, Andile Jali and the current Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele; they are products of this cup,” he said.
Mahlangu said the cup continues to give youngsters from all walks of life hope.
“The reason for this cup is because back in our day most of the players that were chosen to play for big teams came from the schools league.
“But we do not have structured schools leagues, especially in our locations anymore. This cup is played on weekends, so it does not clash with school work, it keeps them away from drugs and alcohol abuse,” he said.
Mahlangu said some of the youngsters, in general, fall victim to ill discipline in their areas, hence the cup is played on weekends to keep them away from such behaviour. “They do not have a mentor in their community. This tournament is important. Before the tournament starts, I give out a 15- minute motivational talk because when they grow up and become superstars they will face many struggles. But when they become big players after this, they will remember that one day we gave them that motivational talk about such challenges, but they should stay strong, stay in school and succeed,” said Mahlangu.