Bay team defies odds to get to provincial finals

Mthetho Ndoni

PORT Elizabeth’s Jarvis Gqamlana Primary School has vowed to fly the Nelson Mandela Bay flag at the 2013 Danone u-12 provincial soccer finals to be held at Mdantsane’s Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London on Saturday.

The New Brighton school will represent the Bay at the junior schools tournament after they won the regional finals by beating Kwanobuhle’s Magqabi Primary School 5-0 last month.

Gqamlana coach Lungisile Gqasana said the players were excited after qualifying for the provincial finals.

“It is a happy moment for these pupils to get a chance to travel to East London, considering that they come from the poorest area of Red Location.

“It will be the first time some of them get a chance to travel outside Port Elizabeth but as a school we are trying our best to make them excel in every tournament they take part in.”

He said the school lacked sports equipment such as soccer balls and kit, but pupils were determined and motivated to take part in sport.

“Our hope is to reach the national finals of the tournament, but we underperform in provincial events because of stage fright.

We are going there with confidence and will do our best to make our region proud.”

The Danone u-12 tournament pits the top primary schools from each of seven regions in the Eastern Cape against each other as they compete for a national playoff spot.

The national first prize is a trip to London to take part in the world finals and play in front of former French national player Zinadine Zidane.

Team captain Lelona Ntanjana, 12, said the event meant a lot to them.

“I’m happy to lead my team to this big event and I hope we will do better when we arrive in East London. I’m not scared and we are satisfied with the team’s preparation.”

Midfielder Thobelani Gqomo, 12, said the team had played very well to be crowned the regional champs, but would have to work harder to win the provincial championships.

“It will be my first trip away from PE and I’m excited.”

The National Cup is an international competition involving 2.5 million children from about 40 countries each year.

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