The tournament was held in Johannesburg and Siphumelele, from Inanda in Durban, played against all odds with a gritty fighting spirit. It was the second time the school has participated in this tournament after last year's showing, where they fell short to make an impact.
Siphumele first beat Limpopo side Rev Malatjie Primary School 1-0. The following match was against Caley (JSS) Junior Primary School, which was locked to a goalless draw but the Durban boys won 4-3 on penalties.
That win lifted the spirits of the boys, who had no tracksuits to show off, and they were at it again by beating Kgetleng Primary 1-0 in the semi-finals. It was exceptional football from the youngsters.
When they faced Ferremere Primary School in the final, who were catching them on counter-attacks, Siphumelele created chance after chance but the final product let them down. But they found a winner with a 3-2 scoreline to become the national schools champions of the Danone Cup.
It was a heroes' welcome at their school and some of their parents were in tears of joy, especially at the opportunity to go to Brazil in November, where they will face other countries' Under-12 schools winners.
Siphumelele Primary School principal Phathokuhle Ndaba was at a loss for words to describe how good it felt for the boys, who had no training facilities.
"We are very happy because we had so many challenges en route to
Gauteng," he said. "And it was at the time when these boys were preparing for the June exams, which was the second half of the year. But I'm grateful for my teachers for their part to prepare them for this because they knew there was gonna be this time like this, which was gonna clash with exams.
"The students were working hard because in this school, we believe a lot in young boys to study and also give them the opportunity to study because it may determine their futures as well," he said with a big smile in his face.
The coach, Sboniso Ndwandwe, was grateful with the opportunity to
represent the country in Brazil come November, which will be the world Junior Championship of Danone.
"I'm happy because of my boys, they worked hard to be the champions. It was not easy and the standard of football, from ward level to national, it's not the same. There is a lot of difference in the sense that these boys were able to stand their own," Ndwandwe said.
"It's not until early November, we just need the support from the country and also from the KZN region so that we can bring the trophy to South Africa, and that's all I can promise the people with these boys."
Anyone who wants to help the school with regards to sponsorship or
anything else, you can contact the principal of Siphumele Primary School, Phathokuhle Ndaba, at 083 434 8150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org