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Mandla Mazibuko, coach of Safa Transnet Football School of Excellence, is adamant his brand new squad has the ability to do well in the Gauteng provincial playoffs of the MTN Under-17 Cup.
The playoffs, which are the last, are billed for Saturday at Atteridgeville's Masupha grounds from 9am.
Excellence, under the tutelage of former Orlando Pirates stalwarts Dan "Dance" Malesela, represented South Africa last year in the finals of the 20th World Schools Championship that was held in Chile where they narrowly lost 2-1 to Germany in the final.
The youngsters put in brilliant performances en route to the final, losing only to Slovenia and registered impressive victories against teams from Europe, South America and Asia.
Said Mazibuko: "We have assembled a brand new team altogether. We are not putting pressure on the boys. This is a development stage and it's not results-oriented. We are preparing the boys for a bright future."
Excellence made it to the playoffs after hammering Katlego High School 11-0 at the weekend.
Other schools that made it are Highlands North Boys, Johannesburg Secondary School, the Kaizer Chiefs-linked Meadowlands High School, Seanamarena High School and fellow underdogs Khanya Lesedi Secondary School and Rosina Sedibane High School.
The champions and runners-up will qualify for the national playoffs in Johannesburg from September 26 to 30.