The Gauteng provincial championship playoffs in the under-12 Danone Nations Cup took place at the WJ Clements Stadium in Reiger Park on Saturday and from the word go there were only two teams in the tournament.
Bree Primary School and Sonqoba Primary School, two of the most successful teams in Gauteng down the years, dominated their groups and met in the final.
Sonqoba had made the final game of the Gauteng provincial finals in the two previous years, winning the 2013 final to represent the province in the National Finals. Bree were the last South African winners of the Danone Nations Cup World Finals in 2009. Sonqoba finished the group stages unbeaten scoring 8 goals in their 3 games, while Bree Primary School started well by beating Christian Progressive Academy 2-0 but then got overconfident and drew with one of the weaker schools in the competition, Tsumbedzo Primary School 1-1, and went down on penalties. Bree Primary School did just enough to win their group ahead of Christian Progressive Academy and advance to the final.
The final game was a tight contest and Bree had the best chances in the first half but kicked a ball just wide in open play then watched a free kick drift past the left hand corner of the goal.
The second half was a game of chess that saw both teams battle to get anywhere near the goal until the stroke of full time when Bree was awarded a penalty. The penalty kick was a decent one but thanks to a fantastic save by the Sonqoba goalkeeper they could not score.
So, it was 0-0 at the end and Bree won the penalty shootout 2-0 to advance to the national finals which will be at the same venue on the 27th of June.
Mr Devanand Kallicharan, headmaster of Bree Primary School and manager of the team, said he was delighted with the win, but also concerned, “We have a good team and the team played well during the tournament but I have a couple of concerns, the first is that two of our top players got injured in the first game of the Provincial finals so I am not sure if they will be fit enough for the National finals and the second is that we had a lot of good opportunities in today’s game and we were not able to score.”
Mandla Mazibuko, Mamelodi Sundowns scout and coach was there to run his eye over the players and he said there was a lot of good talent on display, “Going into the final game, Sonqoba were the favourites due to their precision in front of the goals but Bree Primary School played the better game in the final. I have identified players from all of the teams in the tournament and I will come to the national finals to see how some of these players play against the top opposition in their age group.”