Siyabonga Figlan, the coach of the Pholosho Junior Secondary School soccer team, is not intimidated by the past achievements of his opponents as he makes his debut in the Future Champions Gauteng Schools Cup.
Figlan and his boys led by skipper Matomo Mmolai, who have been drawn in Group D along with the likes of Johannesburg Secondary School from Homestead Park who are seasoned perennial campaigners of this competition, will debut in the cup competition on 17 February when the tournament kicks off at the Isak Steyl Stadium at the Vaal University of Technology.
“I fear [nothing] of our so-called high profile opponents and the soccer academies… as long as the referee gives my boys a fair judgment and handling of the game and also protects them when it’s needed,” he said.
“We have played some of the top school soccer sides in the past in various tournaments and gave them a run for their money while in other instances they were assisted by the referees who constituted their 12th player on the field,” added the straight-talking coach during an interview with Alex News ahead of their debut match against Fumana Secondary School of Katlehong.
The fourth team in Group D is Thuto Lefa Secondary School from Munsieville, Krugersdorp. If Pholosho performs well and reaches the semi-finals of the competition, this will qualify them to participate in the Future Champions Gauteng Cup.
If they also reach the semi-finals of the Gauteng Cup, they will then ultimately qualify for the Future Champions Gauteng International Cup, which features top sides from around the world.
“We’re going to push for wins in our first two games and then maybe a draw in the last and we will know we are home and dry. That is our strategy. Our biggest challenge is the academies as they play, eat and sleep all things football but we don’t fear them but respect them.”
The coach said their goal was to go as far as the finals of the schools’ cup which will then pave the way for them to participate in the Gauteng cup.
“This will be a proud moment for us, especially coming from a school with no resources and playgrounds.”