Quick look at local 2nd & 3rd Division

With one more round left to play this weekend in the SAB League Cape Town, FN Rangers top the log by 7 points and are the champions. There was a twist to the story as FN Rangers were facing a disciplinary hearing because of fielding an ineligible player.

According to sources, the Royal Road team registered a player who played in another region before and when they received his player’s card as per normal from SAFA CT, Rangers assumed all was in order. It was only when the MySAFA system came into place, which is the system which links all SAFA region registrations, a red flag was raised which indicated that the player was still registered in the region he came from.

Does the fault lie with the team or the region? Fortunately FN Rangers have been cleared and will be representing the Cape Town region at the playoffs reportedly take place in the Eden region in June.

A look at the relegation zone sees Citizens dropping out of the league next year as they are six points behind their closest rivals and with only 1 game left. Between Citizens and Bayview United, who are the last safe team, are Cultural Roots and Two Oceans Academy who are fighting to maintain their status. Both teams have tough encounters this weekend with Roots playing away to Bayview and Two Oceans facing Riverside Rangers at Hickory Road and it will be a real test of character and nerve for them.

In the ABC Motsepe League it’s all been done and dusted. Steenberg United are again champions and will representing Western Cape in the playoffs in Limpopo facing a team from Free State (still to be decided) and Umvoti FC from KZN in the group stages. Coach Mike Lukhubene and his team will be hoping to do better this time round as 2 years ago they failed to reach the finals and gain promotion.

The Magic FC ended up second place this season with 64 points as compared to last year’s position of fourth spot with 56 points so slight improvement for them. Looking at their goal scored comparison, The Magic found the net 11 more times this season and a big contribution from Thurlo Moosa must be noted.

Ace FC really lit up the league this season as first time entrants. With a full time playing squad and some real gems in the line up they took the league by storm and led for most of the season. Unfortunately for them the hype which was created might have been too much for the team to handle as they dropped crucial points at times where it was expected of them to win. A massive support followed this team wherever they played and credit to all the people involved with this project as what was achieved doesn’t happen without planning.

Grassy Park United once again were not able to maintain their threat this season. Finishing on fourth place, one better than last year. Their goal against tells the tale of their season. Defensive issue from the start was their Achilles heel although it stabilized during the season but the damage was already done. Conceding forty goals and ending with a goal average of eleven won’t normally get you a top four spot but they were fortunate enough to have top strikers heading the attack and finding the back of the net.

HBUFC as new comers have a great story to tell after gaining promotion last season and ending fifth spot in the ABC Motsepe League. Although the team has changed a bit since their season last year in the SAB League, their tenacity and fighting spirit remains the cornerstone of their team dynamic. Captain Byron Mckellar continued his impressive performances from last year together with striker Mzwandile Ntozini, rising to the level of the league. Ntozini also known as Zwai, ended up being one of the top goal scorers in the league.

Next season is already being planned with some teams aiming to do better while others have put up the FOR SALE sign.
Younger players are seeking to find teams to take the next step while others scurry to find a team as they no longer meet the Under criteria.
Hopefully players learn their lesson and heed the advice of those who have walked their path and find a stable source of income while expressing themselves on the football field.

No clear winner ….yet

The SAFA 2nd and 3rd division in the Cape Region has been most unpredictable this season.

With about 5 matches to go in the ABC Motsepe League and between 6-9 matches to go in the SAB League, there is no clear winner in sight for the respective titles.

Yes, there are favourites in both leagues and teams who have matches in hand as an advantage but, many of them have not made full use of their games in hand and caused the title races to be open.

FN Rangers have asserted themselves as the new forerunners in the SAB League and are currently top of the log. The Maitland based team are in full control of the title race and with eight games left to play, it’s their league to lose. There are 3 other teams close enough to challenge for the title with Junction Rovers in all likelihood the nearest rival.

Silver Spurs have played two more games than others in the top 4 but their experience in the league has benefited their recent matches and brought positive results. The Silvertown team have been unbeaten for the last 11 games and have seen off fellow title challenges, Junction Rovers and FN Rangers in the process. Spur’s remaining six games are: Goal 50, Bluegum, Greenwood, Two Oceans, Hanover Park and Rebels.

Junction Rovers had their time at the summit of the table and are still in with a chance if any of their fellow title contenders slip up. Junction have the least number of goals scored from the top 4 but also the least conceded in the league which suggests a solid defence led by captain Taahir Jumat. The Heideveld team still have eight games to go which involves tough opposition like Greenwood and FN Rangers, both being away games.

Newcomers Greenwood are slowly drifting off the pace and losing touch with the log leaders especially after their 1-1 draw with Bluegum last Friday night. They did however manage to claim maximum points at their second bite when the two sides met again two days later where Greenwood won 1-0. With seven games to go and fellow contenders still to be faced, it is a huge mountain to climb for the team who has done exceptionally well in their first season.

The ABC Motsepe League has proven to be a see saw ride with Ace FC and Steenberg the main contenders.

Ace Fc have been occupying the top spot for most of the season but have made the crucial error of not winning the matches where they were expected to win. The latest bump in their road was the loss to Jomos Power who are sitting at the foot of the table. This result suited Steenberg United just fine as they claimed all the points against fellow contenders, The Magic FC in their last match.

Magic FC have been too inconsistent this season and could easily have converted their draws to wins which would’ve put them in a better situation. Probably one of the promising teams at the start of the season and a team which normally finishes off well, they could still deliver a surprise or two before the season ends, currently sitting in third spot and will be best to take advantage if the two above them err on their way to the end.

At the bottom end of the 2nd division log things are a bit clearer with two teams, United FC and Jomos Power, rooted with a seven point difference between them and the third last placed team, Atlantic Nacional.

Both United and Jomos are community based teams who were promoted two seasons ago and seem to be heading back to the SAB League. This also proves how tough and how much is invested in the league where club owners pump thousands of Rands into their teams.

In the SAB League the situation is a bit tighter at the bottom with plenty of matches to be played and a chance for teams to lift from the drop zone. Two Oceans, Cultural Roots and Citizens have plenty to do and the last 10 games will be crucial for them to secure their survival. Late comer to the league, Bluegum United are close to the bottom zone but the Bonteheuwel team have only played 15 games so far and judging by results are backing themselves to survive.

FN Rangers bag 3 to go top

Saturday at Hickory Road in Athlone is when FN Rangers hosted Greenwood for their SAB League encounter. The venue has become the home ground of a few teams in the league because of the drought taking place and the City calling on no play allowed on grass turfs.

FN Rangers was responsible for most of the action in the first fifteen minutes of the match but were not able to break the Greenwood defence. Goalkeeper Kyle Martin from Greenwood made a crucial save when he dealt with a one on one situation at the end of the box, keeping the ball out with his feet.

The away side fought back and piled on the pressure creating a few chances but none of which made any real opportunity. Greenwood were not allowed to settle on the ball and their usual attacking prowess was snubbed by some good pressing and clinical defending.

In the last 3rd of the half FN Rangers were back in it and controlling the game. It was a tough battle between Antonio Quissanga from Rangers and the Greenwood left back Monray Leonard. On one occasion Antonio managed to pass the left back and deliver a good cross into the danger area but the oncoming striker scuffed his shot wide of the poles.

Greenwood had their captain Mark Nefdt sent off when he deliberately fouled a Rangers attacker in the area resulting in a penalty for the home side. Danny Bowers stepped up to the spot but had his attempt saved by Martin and the ball was cleared by the Greenwood defence for a corner.

Bowers made amends for his penalty miss by delivering a pin point corner kick for Waylin Smith to head home for a goal, giving Rangers the lead.

It was all Rangers from then on as they took advantage of some indecisive defending by the team in Green. Thaabiet Baartman, the Rangers midfielder was quick to close the Greenwood midfield as he robbed Dean Williams of possession to mount a counter attack which resulted in Daniel Malapo scoring the team’s second goal.

With a man down the team from Steenberg continued to soldier on looking for their opener. Greenwood’s Kyle Segers was noticeable in his efforts to get his team going with right back Tyron Petersen putting in a hard shift considering his team was a man short in defence.

Greenwood’s efforts were in vain as FN Rangers played smartly, by breaking with the counter attack causing Baartman and Bowers to score and ending the match at 4-0 to the home side.

With the loss of Junction Rovers to Silver Spurs later in the day, Rangers secured the summit of the table with games in hand.

Greens Draw in Heideveld

The much anticipated clash in the SAB League between Junction Rovers and Greenwood Athletic took place on Saturday 10 February at Heideveld Sports field. Because both teams have the same club colours, the away team sported their district’s colours of maroon and blue.
The hosts, Junction Rovers who are currently on the summit of the table, were the side in form at the time of the fixture while Greenwood were blowing hot cold since the start of 2018 but still occupied 3rd spot on the log.

The first half was one of those encounters where each side struggled to hold possession as attacks were broken off and interceptions continuously made by either team. Neither side was allowed to settle on the ball.
Junction Rovers were the first to have a real attempt in the 12th minute but missed and also had a shot taken by Armondre Gallant but was saved by Greenwood keeper, Kyle Martin.

Coach Lionel Miller, the Greenwood coach, made his first substitute in the 33rd minute when wide player Marawaan Cupido made way for central midfielder Abdul-Karriem Sadan. A move which saw the influential attacking Ryan Adams move to the wide position where he then had less impact on the game as he did in the first 30 min.

In the 41st minute the visitors took advantage of confusion in the Rovers defence when the ball was played into the Junction half which wasn’t cleared and Donovan Titus was on hand to score for Greenwood.

With 4 minutes plus additional time remaining, Junction applied the pressure in search of the equaliser. The pressure finally bared fruit when the referee awarded a penalty to the home side for a hand ball in the area and Abduraghmaan Moses scored the equaliser just before the break making the score 1-1.

The opening of the second half saw the visitors on the offensive as they tried to gain control of the game. In the 17th minute Greenwood’s Tavern Horne broke the defensive line on the edge of the box and slipped the ball to Ryan Adams who drove the ball towards the penalty spot. In an attempt to intercept the dangerous pass, Junction captain, Taahir Jumat, accidentally placed the ball into his own net and thereby giving the opponents the lead.

With Junction Rovers behind for the 2nd time in the match they again applied the pressure in search of the equaliser and for the next quarter of the match they looked very likely to score.

Their successful chance came in the 30th minute when Luzuko Miti delivered a cross in the area for Zacharia Arendse to head the ball into the net, beating the Greenwood goalkeeper for the 2nd time.

The home side did not stop in search of the winner but eventually the match ended in a 2-2 draw which kept Junction Rovers top of the log and Greenwood remaining in 3rd spot.

Snap look at the SAB League CT

With a third of the SAB League season played, it’s becoming clear which teams have a chance of contesting for the league title this year.

But first let’s look at the bottom end of the table with just over 10 games played and at the foot of the table is Bluegum United but as we all know, their late entry into the league means that they’ve only played 3 games. The club’s management has made it known that their key focus is to survive this season and with already claiming the scalp of Silver Spurs earlier in the week, they might have the determination and drive to achieve their goal. It’s a long way to go still but with their makeup matches coming thick and fast, it might give them the edge over their competitors.

Above the Bonteheuwel team in 15th place is Two Oceans Academy which may be a surprise for many. The Epping based team have had reasonably good seasons in the past but this is their worst start since entering the league 2 seasons ago. With normally a youth based squad, the second half of the season will be crucial to secure their survival.

Last season’s relegated 2nd division side, Cultural Roots, are in 14th place and have only managed to win 2 of their 11 games matches while drawing 3. The Gugulethu based team have a tough road ahead and will have to change their approach to improve their log standing.

Riverside Rangers which normally occupies a much higher place on the table is currently in the bottom half of the log. The Avonwood based team haven’t had a good start to their season but a hard fought win in their last match against former log leaders. Greenwood Athletic, saw them climb to 12th spot. The win will no doubt be a confidence booster for their next few matches.

The top half of the log table is tightly contested with any of 4 to 5 teams potentially fighting for honours. Currently Junction Rovers are topping the log but have played 1 more game than their closest competitors, FN Rangers. Greenwood, who has led the log for most of the season so far, has not been able to win a game in 2018.

Silver Spurs are always in the mix and many have the opinion that this is their year although they seem to be their own worst enemies and not consistent enough in their performances. With 6 points adrift they will have to up their mental game and not let their opportunities be missed.

Cape Town United from Langa are currently in 5th spot and have an outside chance but over the seasons have proven not to be consistent enough to have a strong finish to the season and that might be their downfall again this season.

The feel amongst the league’s followers is that the teams to watch out for are Junction Rovers, Silver Spurs, Greenwood Athletic and FN Rangers, with the latter being the firm favourite. Coach Areshaat Daniels at FN Rangers might have the recipe for success this season with a good mixture of youth and experience. Although they lost their opening game 6-0 to Greenwood, the team has improved and Coach Daniels has steadied the ship.

Sweden flex their muscle

Picture by Rashied Isaacs

Banyana Banyana hosted Sweden on Sunday at the Cape Town Stadium in a friendly match as part of their preparation for the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and the aim of qualifying for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The venue was reported to have been sold out as entry was free but on the day the stadium was not filled to capacity although a decent crowd was present to witness the occasion.

Sweden who are ranked 10th in the world wasted no time in settling into the match as they had their first attempt on goal in the 2nd minute when Kosovare Asllani saw her attempt go wide of the upright. The SA team responded almost immediately but also were unable to find the target.

Most of the Swedish attack initiated from their right hand side where Banyana Banyana defender Nonthando Vilikazi was kept busy. Sweden struck in the 10th minute when Bambanani Mbane deflected a Swedish free kick into the net.

The home side created their own opportunities with Chantelle Esau and Thembi Kgatlana combining well and came close to scoring.

With the SA team building from the back and playing through the middle with passing combinations they looked dangerous and often broke the defensive line of the visitors but were let down by poor finishing and decision making with the final pass. The Swedish were structured in their approach, matched their opponents with speed and were clinical in executing crucial moments in the game.

Picture by Rashied Isaacs

Although Sweden dominated the second half the game could possibly have had a different feel had the SA team converted their chances in the first half.

The match ended in a 3 0 win for the visitors who made 6 substitutions during the clash and was a competitive encounter for their players.

For Banyana Banyana the match was a good indicator of where they need to improve and delivered a decent account of themselves against the 10th ranked team in the world.

Goal Scorers:
Bambanani Mbane (OG)
Loreta Kullashi

The week that was – ABC Motsepe

No surprise results of this past weekend in the #ABCMotsepeLeague_WC as teams consolidate their positions on the log.

Thursday was the start of the New Year schedule where Grassy Park United found it tough to tame a motivated Jomos Power at NY49. The team from Atlantis have all to play for as they lay at the foot end of the log and are desperate to save their status. The encounter was physical and at times very open as both teams prepared to attack and exploit the opponent’s defence.
Ultimately GP ended up scoring 2 goals without a reply from the visitors and with the win keep on track for the title.

United FC received a major dent in their battle to survive relegation when they were convincingly beaten 6-0 by The Magic. Great win for the newly appointed coach of The Magic, David Kannemeyer. The match also saw Thurlo Moosa score a hat trick and both teams ending the match with 10 men.

Royal Blues travelled to Hout Bay where they lost to a HBUFC side looking to repair their season. After a great start to their first campaign the Hout Bay team derailed slightly but started their New Year with a victory in an attempt to get back on track. Gavin Hammers scored for the home side.

The highly anticipated derby between Zizwe and Ace FC took place on Friday night at a packed Nyanga astro turf. The football on display was appreciated by the crowd and many left the field agreeing that the 1-1 result was a fair reflection of the game. Both sides displayed some attractive football and neither gave an inch but the result does lessen the grip by Ace FC on the top spot as they now share the no.1 position with GP with Steenberg close in 3rd.

Ikapa Sporting continue to struggle this season with a defeat against Ajaxct at Ikamva on Saturday. The young Urban Warriors won 3-2 securing their mid table spot in the league. Last season Ikapa were in 4th position around the same time but now find themselves in 11th position, 5 points clear from the relegation zone.

Santos have found stability and recorded a win on Saturday against newcomers D&G Orient in Lansdowne. The people’s team secure their 10th spot with the 1 nil victory while D&G drop 1 place to 9th.

With the Nedbank Semi finals taking place this weekend, league action will be on a minimum with only 4 games taking place. The HBUFC have a tough assignment as they host ACE FC but Coach Bradley August will relish the challenge to exploit the log leader’s weaknesses and look for an upset.

Year End Round Up!!

The yearend breaks in the #ABCMotsepeLeague_WC (2nd) and the #sableague (3rd) are upon us and we take a brief look and recap of the season so far.
There is no doubt that the competition in both leagues this season is tougher than it’s been in a while as we’ve witnessed surprising results as the weeks have progressed. The points difference among the top 4 in both leagues are marginal and no clear favourite is visible.
The availability of former NFD players from relegated teams have had a major effect on both leagues as team bosses make room in their squads for these players. Affected directly is the ABC Motsepe League where the spread of players who participated in the NFD last year are visible in some teams.
2nd division new comers Ace FC have established themselves as a serious contender so far by taking the number 1 spot and holding on to it. The Khayalitsha based team however had their world shook when they hosted Grassy Park United in Nyanga a couple of weeks ago. On an evening which delighted fans from both sides because of entertainment value it was clear that the home side had plenty of kinks in their armour. Ace eventually forced a 2-2 draw and with that maintained their log position at the summit. However in the post mortem of the match, the Ace FC coach was fired with many reasons being speculated but sanity prevailed as he was rehired 2 days later. The log leaders ended their season with a bang as they put the saga behind them by scoring 7 goals against last placed Jomos Power in their last match before the break.
The SAB League has been a similar story as Greenwood Athletic, also newcomers, has been in the top spot since almost the start of the season. The promoted side have managed to rally the community players and create a team which contains experience, youth, flair and that never say die attitude which the club is known for. Although some of their performances have not been up to the quality which they can deliver, the team still collected maximum points in 6 of their 8 games. Greenwood also managed to reach the final of the Nedbank Cup for its division but lost out to Silver Spurs who represented the region at the playoffs. Silver Spurs also handed Greenwood their first loss of in the league when they defeated them 3-2 at Hickory Road, Athlone.
With only 4 points difference between the top 5 in the SAB League, it will be tough to call a clear favourite although many are predicting that FN Rangers, Silver Spurs or Greenwood will be one of the teams taking the league this year. Rangers are contending in their second consecutive season and have been more consistent this time, suffering their only loss in the very first match of the season to Greenwood. Spurs on the other hand have dropped points which might count against them later on as they’ve drawn 4 matches in 9 games and recorded 1 loss.
In the ABC Motsepe League, The Magic have made a better start to their season compared to previous years. The Magic have added some powerful acquisitions to the squad and the benefits are in the results. Currently occupying 4th spot, and at a stage in 1st, Magic is expected to be a contender in the New Year. The team has changed considerably since last season so their accomplishments have been an achievement and the longer they play together, the better they will become as a unit. David Kannemeyer, the ex PSL player and recently head coach of NFD outfit, Cape Town All Stars, has joined the technical team of The Magic and time will tell if his influence will be a benefit for the squad.
Regular league contenders Steenberg United have quietly gone about their business but hit a slight bump when they lost to a struggling D&G Orient side at the Greens. The loss effectively prevented them from taking the top spot as they are 2 points adrift and occupy 2nd place. Steenberg are one of the more of the consistent teams in the league and it would be surprising if they are not in with chance come end of the season.
The bottom end of the log has teams like Jomos Power and United FC struggling to avoid the relegation zone. Jomos Power, based in Atlantis, has an almost unchanged team for the past few years and is limited with resources. The team is capable of displaying some attractive football but seem to be out of luck this season and not obtaining the results. Both United FC and Jomos are playing in their second consecutive season in the league after they won promotion from the SAB League and if their fate remains unchanged, they might find themselves back in the 3rd division.
As we reported on a previous post, the SAB League has had quite an abnormal start to its season as the league started with only 15 teams. The reason was because of an outstanding DC case which stems from the LFA playoffs of last year. All that has now been settled and after a 2 match playoff series, Bluegum United from Bonteheuwel is the 16th team in the league. Bluegum will have to hit the ground running as they have 9 games to catch up on besides playing their scheduled matches. It’s going to be quite a task for the club and technical team but the community of Bonteheuwel are hopeful that the only team from Bonteheuwel in the league will rise above the challenges and survive.
Other newbies in the SAB League are Kuilsriver AFC, who is making their mark with their passing brand of football, Citizens who are from Langa and currently in 9th place and Goal 50 who are from Heideveld.

The season for both leagues resume in January. Check out our Calender for all fixtures:

Rebels force away draw

A windy Heideveld astro turf was the venue for the @sableague clash between hosts Junction Rovers and Rebels on Saturday. It was noticeable how damaged the fencing around the field was since we were last there about 1 ½ years ago, and plenty of broken glass bottles which surrounded the field. One can’t help to wonder if we don’t take ownership of our facilities, will it be useable in a few years.

Junction started the match with the wind at their back and had most of the possession by the 15 minute mark. Neither team were able to settle as the home side created most of their opportunities from broken play while Rebels attempted to build up from the back to combat the wind element and managed to create very few chances.

Junction had the last opportunity to go ahead just before the halftime break but Keenan Bailey was unable to make contact in the area from a free kick by Taahir Jumat.
The Rebels team managed to string some good passing interchanges together but created no real threat to Carlo Jones, the Rovers keeper.

Rovers were quick to create their first opportunity in the second half when Shuaib Dalvie delivered a good cross but Armondre Gallant failed to find the target with his header. Rebels responded in attack when Lusanda Paliso skied a Mzuvukile Rilityana layoff.

Both teams started showing some urgency and the tempo of the game was raised making the match a more open and fluid affair.

Rebels struck first blood when goalkeeper, Siphosethu Folomane, cleared the ball over the halfway line and found Siyabuka Manisi who took control and found the back of the net, beating the Rovers keeper. 

The home side responded well and applied the pressure with Shuaib Dalvie combining with substitute Shafiek Serelina who took his shot but was saved by Folomane. Rovers showed more of how they could play by providing some good passing combinations in their build up.

Since the inclusion of Serelina, the Junction team looked threatening and the lively player received a just reward when he scored his team’s equalizer in the 40th minute. Coach Deweber slightly changed his formation and pushed up left back Taahir Jumat who assisted in Serelina’s goal. A minute later Jumat again assisted in his side’s next goal when Jassiem Brown latched onto a Jumat cross and scored to put his side ahead.

With only a few minutes left, Rebels were left chasing the game and increased the pressure especially after a Junction player was red carded making them 1 less player to defend.

Rebels substitute Khunga Qolo equalised after Rovers failed to clear a goalmouth scramble in the dying moments of the game.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Hanover Park defeat positive Kuilsriver

Hanover Park’s Ganief Kariem halts Jisreel Scheepers from Kuilsriver

Had an opportunity to pop in at Hickory road to check out the second half between Hanover Park and Kuilsriver AFC on Saturday. At halftime the Hanover Park side were 1 nil up after Muneer Davids scored in the first half.

It was evident that Park had the more direct approach while Kuilsriver chose to be patient with their build up and look for the penetrating pass to their forwards. The Hanover Park defenders led by Laryo Mamba, had the visitors in check as they were able to nullify the attacks and were dominant with the aerial balls. The right back of Hanover Park, Ganief Kariem, delivered a solid performance as he cut out any danger from the flanks and also assisted his team in attack.

On the right wing for Hanover Park was a familiar diminutive figure of ex pro Salman King. The little maestro was doing his best to make an impact from wide to put his side on attack. King, who hails from Mitchells Plain, is well known for his time at Santos FC in the PSL but also had stints at Ajaxct, Maritzburg, Free State Stars and Cape Town All Stars.

Kuilsriver in possession

Most of the 2nd half was dominated by the possession of the visitors. The midfield combination of Kuilsriver ensured control and tempo of the match. Winray Rooi, the Kuilsriver attacker, impressed but was let down by some poor decision making in the final third.

With the home team defending deep and relying on the counter attack, not many chances were created and those that were, were dealt with swiftly by the Kuilsriver defence.

Ex pro, Salman King in action for Hanover Park

For Kuilsriver it was a game where they were unable to capitalise on their possession and inexperience was shown with decision making in the final third. The side provides entertaining passing football with the final pass lacking.

On the other hand, Hanover Park showed their experience by managing the game and remaining calm even when under attack. Marlon Johnson, the Park goalkeeper, wasn’t called into action that often and mostly because of communication with his back 4.

The match ended 1 – 0 to Hanover Park securing 5th spot on the log while Kuilsriver drop from 6th to 10th.