Grey College moves a step closer to participating in the Free State Kay Motsepe Schools Cup Provincial Final
29 April 2015 The Bloemfontein Cluster Games in the Free State Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, sponsored by the Motsepe Foundation and Sanlam, are under way and in action there is one of South Africa’s leading sports schools, Grey College.
Ludwig Koekemoer, the school’s sports co-ordinator is also the team’s manager, and he explains that the school has been participating in the competition for four years now, and each time they have been eliminated at the regional finals stage.
“I think one of our biggest challenges is that our team mainly consists of under-17 players, and most of the other schools field 18 and 19-year olds,” he said. “Physically our boys don’t match up to the others and that’s where we encounter problems. Further, our players are not as experienced. However exposure to older players does make them mentally and psychologically stronger and they are learning to compete outside of their comfort zone. That’s when we get to evaluate their growth as a team and individually.”
Grey won the prestigious St David’s Challenge Cup and the Waterstone soccer tournaments in Johannesburg last year, showing that they are competitive against some of the country’s top schools. “We just need to gain more experience in terms of playing outside our comfort zone,” Koekemoer said.
This year, he believes has to be different compared to previous years. “I think we need to focus on the players’ mental game. We need to build their confidence, which is the most important aspect when it comes to the mental side of soccer. Even though physically our players are not as strongly built as other players they need to know and understand that soccer is a mental a game at the end of the day. We are known as the school to beat when it comes to rugby, now we want to be known as the school to beat when it comes to soccer as well.”
In their first cluster game this year, Grey beat Sehunelo Secondary School 4-1. “The team is looking very strong at the moment. We are going hard in our attacking, defending and shooting on target. I didn’t expect the team to win by 4 goals, it’s a lot especially for the first game of our cluster,” Koekemoer said.
“But this indicates that the team is ready and they have a positive spirit going into the tournament. Winning the first game has definitely set the tone for our next games. I am confident that the team will go further in the tournament this year.”
Grey College has its own soccer complex, with possibly the best school fields in the country so, Koekemoer said, it’s a challenge when they have to play away games, sometimes on gravel fields.
“That definitely causes problems for the players, because they are not used to playing on such fields. This year we have arranged for all our cluster games to be played at our school, because we know that getting a venue is difficult for schools that don’t have their own soccer fields.”
The teams participating in the Bloemfontein cluster are:
Bloemfontein High School
Sehunelo Secondary School
Kopanong High School
Heatherdale Secondary School
Headstart High School.