Champions announced

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

The nine provincial schools champions for the Coca-Cola Football Stars have been announced and, out of the pack, only two schools that made it into last year's finals are back again.

They are defending champions Harmony Academy (Free State) and Cloetesville (Western Cape).

Those who will be making their debut are Lihawu (Mpumalanga), Highlands North (Gauteng), Umsobomvu (Eastern Cape), Mehlokazulu (KwaZulu Natal), Seiphemelo (North West), Hudson Ntsanwisi (Limpopo) and Porth Nolloth (Eastern Cape).

The fourth edition of the games is set for Klerksdorp, North West, from May 1 to 3.

Themba Tshabalala, South African Schools Football Association project manager, said this year's event will see the introduction of bursaries worth R400000 for four talented youngsters who will be unearthed during the event.

"Each bursary will be worth R100000 and the player can enrol at any institution of his choice. The winning school will pocket R150000, the runners-up R100000, while the third-placed finishers will walk away with R50000.

"The prizes will not be transferred direct into the winning schools in cash but schools will be requested to submit a list of materials they need," he said.

Meanwhile, 100 players who have been selected from all over the country since the provincial playoffs started their three-week camp yesterday at Pretoria High Performance Centre by undergoing rigorous training.

They are under the watchful eyes of Clive Barker, Doctor Khumalo and Mark Williams.

The number will be trimmed from 100 to 18. The final squad will then leave for either Europe or South America. On their return, some of the players will then be contracted to various Premiership teams.