Edendale seek to retain regional CAF African Schools Championship title

Edendale Technical High School will be back to defend their title in the Girls’ competition at the CAF African Schools Championship | COSAFA Qualifier, Zimbabwe 2023 as they represent South Africa for the second year in a row in the Under-15 competition.

Edendale triumphed in the regional qualifier in Malawi last year, finishing first in a five-team competition. They may find it harder going this time round with the field expanded to 11 sides from around Southern Africa.

A tweak to the regulations this year means that teams can be made up of the best schools that competed in the national qualifiers, which means Edendale will tap into some talent from other institutions.

“Our team is made up of 70% players from our school and 30% selected from schools that participated in the national qualifiers,” Edendale School Sport Chairperson Sihle Basi says. “This is done in adherence to the playing guidelines and to afford deserving players an opportunity to represent their country.”

The team will be coached by Ntombifuthi Khumalo, popularly known as Coach Muchichwa, who holds a CAF C-Licence, with a couple of players who featured in 2022 returning again, namely captain Asanda Ziqubu and Esihle Zuma.

“This competition is very important for the school as it gives exposure for the players to the national team scouts and also gives them an international experience to compete and showcase their talent under their national colours. It builds up their profiles as future stars,” Basi says.

He adds that the experience gained on and off the pitch will be of real benefit to the players.

“I am hopeful that my players will firstly learn about the technical side of the game having to compete with the best of the other countries in the region. Secondly, they will get to interact with their peers from the various countries and will get to learn about their culture and traditions.

“Lastly, they will have a sense of how it feels to carry the nation on their shoulders, representing every girl child in the streets, schools and academies in South Africa by playing the Beautiful Game.”

Edendale has already produced several players for the local South African national league and Basi hopes this is just the start.

“We have two former school captains playing for University of Western Cape, namely Lonathemba Mhlongo and Snegugu Zondi,” he says. “There is also Nosipho Mahlawe, who plays for Royal AM Ladies.

“Mhlongo is also currently a regular in the Banyana Banyana squad, while we have players who were with the Under-20 national team – Olwethu Sosibo, Nobahle Mdelwa, Asanda Mchunu and Fanele Madonsela.

“Mdelwa is currently on a scholarship in Spain through LaLiga’s programme in conjunction with COSAFA and SAFA, and is in Madrid for a year.”

The school was found in the Edendale Township in Pietermaritzburg in 1956. Its enrolment is 1,800 learners and offers various sporting codes, including football, rugby, netball, athletics and basketball among others.

It has proven a beacon of hope to leaners from an area that is hard hit by crime and poverty, and aside from the sporting prowess, has a good reputation for its academic excellence.