KwaZulu-Natal hosted Free State where a total of 18 schools competed for the major prize – with only one school from each province crowned champions to represent their province at the national finals.
The KZN schools who participated in the tournament were Tshelebantu, Masihambisane, John Dube, Silindokuhle, Amakwatha, Injoloba, Luhana, Qediphika, Adams College, Imizikayifani, Mthwazi and Sinamuva., while the Free State was represented by Kgolathuto, Harmony, Grey College, Qalabotjha, Inoseng and Lesaoana.
Following a full day of group stages and knockout football, the Free State final saw Grey College and Lesaoana locking horns, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. College emerged victors 4-2 on penalties to be crowned the champions of Free State and qualify for the national finals.
The second final of the day was played between John Dube and Injoloba who were fighting to be crowned the KwaZulu-Natal champions. Dube took the provincial title of KZN after scoring the only goal of the game, thus securing their qualification for the national finals.
“It was a fun day, watching these young boys competing for the trophy and to be number one,” Downs star Modise said after the finals. “It was very nice. I was able to see the kids smile and being happy, and got to see the other side as well where they were crying. But all in all it was a nice tournament,” said Modise.
Modise, who is McDonalds’ Ui14 Schools League ambassador, was very impressed with the talent of the youngsters he saw throughout the tournament.
“There was this one boy - he was wearing jersey number 14,” Modise said. “I will speak to one of the guys from the development to ask them to look at him because I think he is a great player. And for the position that he was playing, as young as he is, the way he was playing was incredible. And I’ve seen a couple of young good players and hopefully they’ll get an opportunity.”
Modise also motivated the youngsters, insisting that there were no losers as everyone is a winner.
“For the losers: there are no losers as everybody is a winner and they should keep their heads up and try again next year... and for the winners, congratulations,” Modise added.
The next soccer festivals will take place in the following regions:
• Mpumalanga – 13 August (Mpumalanga and Limpopo)
• North West – 20 August (North West and Gauteng)
• Western Cape – 10 September (Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape)
The nine provincial winners will proceed to the McDonald’s U-14 Schools League national finals to be held in Gauteng from 29 September to 1 October 2016.