Monday, 26 February 2018. The dates for the provincial final tournaments in the South African leg of the world’s biggest under-12 soccer tournament – the Danone Nations Cup - have been announced.
Group Danone, the tournament sponsors, will be celebrating their centenary in 2019 and it’s been announced that the 2018 World Finals, at which the champions from all the competing nations participate, will be held next year together with the 2019 tournament in Spain, where Danone was first established 100 years ago.
This means that the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA), who organise the competition here, have more time to stage their provincial tournaments this year because they don’t have to be finished by early July to begin applying for passports and visas.
SASFA are happy with the extra time as this gives them more time to get registrations in and they want their coordinators to go deep into the rural areas to entice schools to compete.
“The Danone Nation Cup is a key tournament on the SASFA calendar and the prize of an overseas trip to compete in the world finals makes it a popular one,” said SASFA’s tournament director Themba Tshabalala. “This year we are making an extra effort to grow the number of participating schools as we have a lot more time.”
The tournament plays a critical role in childhood development for 12-year-olds as it gives them something to strive for, Tshabalala said. “It is also used by educators as a means of teaching life skills –goal-setting, teamwork, perseverance, and the value of hard work. “An important added benefit is that there is an emphasis on teaching kids how to develop healthy eating habits which will benefit them throughout their lives.”
The Northern Cape province will kick-start the provincial finals on 14th April with Upington the host town again. Final registrations are still coming in, but it’s expected that more than 130 schools will register, and they will begin their cluster level games in the first week of March. Bankhara Bodulong Primary School represented the province at last year’s national finals, and they already have their entry in for this year’s competition.
South Africa has been competing in the Danone Nations Cup since its inception in 2000 and is one of only 2 countries that has won the tournament 3 times (2003,2007 and 2009). The other country being France.
The dates and venues of the 2018 Provincial Finals are:
- Northern Cape: April 14 (Upington)
- Free State: May 5 (Bloemfontein)
- North West: May 19 (Klerksdorp)
- Limpopo: June 2 (Polokwane)
- Mpumalanga: June 9 (Secunda)
- KwaZulu-Natal: July 28 (Pinetown)
- Eastern Cape: August 4 (East London)
- Western Cape: August 11 (Cape Town)
- Gauteng: August 25 (Reiger Park).
The National Finals will be in Gauteng on 15th September, at a venue still to be announced.
Schools can still register for the competition by contacting the national coordinator at the SA Schools Football Association (SASFA), Themba Tshabalala, on 011 403 2844, 084 290 0602 or 072 588 4957. Alternatively, they can visit the Danone Nations Cup South Africa Facebook page or go to www.facebook.com/dncsouthafrica to download the necessary documents.