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NC school’s football team has farmer to thank for their shot at glory

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Lutzburg school manager Charles Basson described the farmer Aubrey Laubscher as “a sportsman at heart”

Picture: Supplied

Around 500km west of Kimberley in the sleepy town of Kakamas, there’s been some excitement recently when Lutzburg Intermediate School outdid themselves and qualified to be among the nine national competitors that will take part in the Under-12 Danone Nations Cup soccer tournament finals due to take place in Dobsonville, Soweto next week.

Lutzburg is a small school based amongst the farmlands of Kakamas, and what makes the school’s journey to the final more exciting is that it was made possible thanks to generous dollops of help from a local farmer.

Lutzburg school manager Charles Basson described the farmer Aubrey Laubscher as “a sportsman at heart”.

“He comes to the school every day and helps with the warm-up and coaching,” said Basson, a social and natural science teacher at the school. “He has also secured sponsorships for kit and equipment, and he has been very supportive having done so much to ensure we are ready for the national finals.”

Basson explained that most of his players live in poor communities and are often confronted with challenging situations which affects their game.

“As soccer is a team sport, if someone is not pulling his weight it affects everyone. Here again Aubrey (Laubscher) helps by counselling the boys and he helps them to re-focus.

“It is very exciting to be going to the national finals after numerous attempts. We are a small school so our pool of players is limited, which is not the case in most of the other provinces. But we are ready and fit and will do our best in Gauteng.

“We will be going all out to be the first Northern Cape school to represent South Africa at the world finals.”

Basson doesn’t have any coaching qualifications but is passionate about soccer and was a good player. “I went for trials at Mamelodi Sundowns when I was at high school in the early 90s but was unsuccessful. I then went to AmaZulu where Clive Barker was the coach but I broke my knee during a practice game.

“After being out of action for a while I decided to study teaching instead of pursuing a career in soccer.”

Basson also told the DFA that a player cannot excel without good nutrition, and here again farmer Laubscher has come to their assistance.

“Aubrey comes to training armed with food hampers to ensure the players’ nutritional needs are met. The school does have a feeding scheme, but the hampers are extra as sportsmen need that additional nutrition to ensure their energy and stamina are kept at optimal level.

“This will be important in Gauteng due to the number of games we will be playing on the day,” Basson said.

The winner of the national finals will represent South Africa in the Danone Nations Cup world finals that takes place in Barcelona, Spain next year.