NCEDO Senior Secondary School came agonizingly close to being crowned the Nelson Mandela Bay u-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Soccer Cup champions for the second time.
In the final at the Zwide Stadium on May 30 the NU10 school went down 5-4 in a heart-stopping penalty shoot-out to Zwide’s Ndzondelelo after the match ended 0-0 at the end of regulation time.
“It was a big shock to lose the game. We created a lot of chances but did not convert them into goals. If you do not take your chances, you cannot win games. We dominated the game and maybe we might have underestimated them,” said team manager, Siphiwo Mtshingila.
The school came back with a bronze medal and R500000 last year at the competition’s nationals when they beat Johannesburg High School, which also serves as Orlando Pirates development side, 2-0 in the play-offs.
The cup is an initiative co-founded by Sanlam, the Ubuntu-Botho Community Development Trust and the Motsepe Family Foundation.
It is the biggest schools’ soccer sponsorship with the largest prize money in the history of South African schools soccer – R1-million.
Mtshingila added that he was proud of his team.
“They were very depressed after our shock loss. Penalties are a lottery and we did not practise them leading to the game, because we were planning on winning it during regulation time.
“For some of our boys it was their last chance to play at u-19 level.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and prepare for next year’s tournament, so we can defend our status of being the best team around,” he said.
On May 26, Ncedo also successfully defended their NMMU Soccer Charity Cup when they beat Newton Tech High 3-0 at NMMU’s South Campus soccer fields.
“The Charity Cup was part of our preparation and we did very well in it. I guess it is not called the beautiful game for nothing, but congratulations to Ndzondelelo,” said a sad Mtshingila.