When the Jeppe 1st soccer team beat Norkem Park 1-0 in the final of the St David’s Challenge Cup tournament last weekend It was the third tournament that they have won this year. They won the soccer tournament that is part of the Saints Easter Sports Festival and also took the honours at the Waterstone College tournament earlier in the year.
They have one more tournament to go, at Grey College on September 27 to 29, and quite a few more matches before them, but they are still unbeaten at this stage.It’s all going according to plan, according to Lwazi Mcineka, the team’s captain. “We have been improving over the years, from finishing last or second last to making the semifinals and finals of tournaments last year, and we decided that this year we were going to win trophies,” he said.
It has taken lot of hard work – they have been training all year – but it’s paying dividends.“The St David’s tournament is the oldest around, so it’s the most prestigious and to win it was special,” Lwazi said. “The games were tough and we had injuries to key players, but the boys hung in and came through. They are a dedicated bunch of players and the team spirit could not have been better, we have become a band of brothers, it’s been a special experience.”
Lwazi gives a lot of the credit to their coach Mr Gareth Kolkenbeck-Ruh. “He introduced a professional approach to the game. In training and in games, there is always a plan and we have learned a lot from him,” he said.
Lwazi has been playing for a club, although he is taking a break for the matric exams, and he sees soccer as very much part of his future plans. “I was approached last year already with a scholarship offer to go and play in the United States, so I know that I have to get good marks and there is a lot of work ahead of me.”
Asked about his five years at Jeppe he says he has enjoyed every moment of it. “When I think of Jeppe I immediately get a smile on my face. I have not only made friends, I have gained brothers, it’s been a great journey.”
And it’s not over yet. We are looking forward to seeing Lwazi lead the Jeppe soccer team to even more glory before the 2019 season ends.