School bags silver medals

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The South African Schools Football Association has commended Transnet Football School of Excellence for winning silver medals at the World Schools' Championships in Santiago, Chile, last week.

Excellence, guided by soccer legend, Dan "Dance" Malesela, were defeated 2-1 by Germany in the final of the biennial Under-17 tournament.

Besides the medals, Excellence also returned home with the Fair Play award.

Themba Tshabalalala, Sasfa coordinator, said: "This is an incredible achievement for South African schools' soccer history.

"Before the tournament, the furthest that a South African school went was when Excellence reached the semifinals in 1998."

Excellence qualified to represent South Africa in Santiago after winning the 2006 MTN Under-16 Soccer Cup in Durban. An elated Malesela said: "The boys have made the whole of South Africa proud in Chile, it is unfortunate that we did not come back with the main trophy.

"We played well throughout the tournament, the boys won the hearts of many people who watched the games daily.

"That is why we won the Fair Play award. We were inundated with enquiries from many talent scouts in Europe who are keen to sign some of our boys.

"However, I asked those scouts that they must talk to the school once we have returned to South Africa because I wanted the boys to focus on the tournament.

"Some of the scouts who were pestering us are from Denmark and Australia, they will have to talk to the management of the school."

Malesela said Thabo Mokoena was the only youngster who will be eligible to play in the Under-16 Soccer Cup this year.