Nippy midfield general guides squad to Cup victory

MZOXOLO BUDAZA

Hout Bay’s Daniel Jordan, 9, proved to be an inspirational captain as he led Camps Bay’s Legends Soccer School to victory in the Dubai under-10 Super Cup Tournament last week. The central midfielder pulled all the strings as his side marched to the final, sweeping everything in their way, before beating Muscat Academy, from Oman, 2-0 in the final.

They were, in the end, deserved winners, having won all 10 f their matches in the competition, scoring 33 goals in the process. The school was invited to the tournament and, with doing well in mind, the coaching staff selected their strongest possible squad.

Young Daniel was, however, quick to note that things were not as easy on the field as they look on paper.

This, he said, was because they encountered tough sides, especially the soccer academies.

“We played very well as a team. Our coach made us work very hard. Some of the other teams had very good players but didn’t play as well as we did as a team,” Daniel said.

The youngster said the tournament was also an eye-opener for him and his teammates, as they came back more experienced and a little wiser.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt was that in South Africa – with hard work and a good team spirit – we can take on any team and compete well. As a captain of my side, I try to lead through the way I play my own game. I can’t expect my teammates to work hard if I don’t lead by example,” he said.

Daniel said he has been playing soccer since the day he could hold and kick a ball.

“I have always loved football. Soccer is cool. It helps me make a lot of friends, meet so many different people and gives you an opportunity to score beautiful goals,” he said.

Of course, Daniel was not alone. His teammates – Joshua Moor, Jake Anderson, Judd Jocum, Lawrence Banda, Ettore Vanti, Rayaan Solomons, Daniel Bieber, Nathan Segall and Mees Veldhuis – all played a key role in the team’s victory.

And, coach Anees Abbas described this as a special group of players with a great future ahead of them. “Taking these boys to an international tournament and coming back with a victory was an amazing experience. I have to say the competition was good because, out of the 10 teams, there were about four or five seriously strong teams in the competition,” he said.

“What counted in our favour, though, was that we had very good preparations ahead of the competition and, as a result, our opponents couldn’t catch up with us,” he added.

Abbas said the next step for this group of players was to “get them back to the ground” and keep them hungry for more success.

Legends Soccer School was established in 2011, with the focus mainly on children between the ages of five and 14. Abbas said they started off with only six children and today, five years later, they have about 120 children.

“We put a lot of emphasis on grassroots development, enjoyment of the game and good football,” he said.