Tag: junction

League update at lockdown

As our country experiences our first lockdown we take the time to have a look at what stage in the season the SAFA 3rd division was suspended and its impact.

After round 17 Hanover Park are at the summit due to a better goal difference than Greenwood Athletic and newcomers Crystal Palace as all three teams have 31 points. Hot on their heels is Cape Town City with 30 points who also have the best goal difference in the league due to their high goal-scoring rate of 45 goals in 17 matches.

Other newcomers Woodlands, who have been doing well to keep in the top 5 are only 2 points (29) adrift from the top 3 while former log leaders Silver Spurs are in 6th spot with 28 points.

Between 8th and 1st place sees only a 5 point difference which offered an exciting scenario before the suspension of the league.

Matroosfontein who was at the same time last season in the top 3, are now facing relegation as they are rooted at the bottom with only 8 points and recording 2 wins this season. Cape Town United and Goal 50 are part of the threatened relegation mix and are in danger of the drop if they fail to record some positive results once the league resumes or IF it resumes.

Teams having a better record this season compared to last year are Bluegum United, Rebels, Bellstar and Cape Town City, with the latter in the top 5.

With the lockdown imposed having 21 days without any activity all clubs are in an unfamiliar and scary position with a vast number of challenges facing clubs.

Player fitness and readiness is probably the most concerning for technical staff as players might be keeping physically fit at home, but will need time to adapt to match fitness post the lockdown.

The ability to adapt to the time off will determine which teams will benefit the most if a return does happen. If the league does resume then the break may offer clubs like Matroosfontein, Cape Town United and Goal 50 an opportunity to recover as the lockdown might serve as a leveler as it is possible that other teams will struggle to continue the form they had before the break.

Another talking point is that the uncertainty of the restart to the league may cause some teams to lose key players. Although the 3rd Division is an amateur league, some teams do remunerate players and the fact that there are no matches taking place, may cause players not to be paid.

The reality of the matter is that the 21-day break may change the whole complexity of the current log positions especially considering the points difference between 15th place and 1st place is only 16 points at the moment compared to last season where it was 24 points at the same stage.

SAFA will assess the situation after the lockdown and decide the way forward and hopefully, by then we would’ve flattened the curve and have a chance of returning to the sports field but also bearing in mind that there is also the real possibility that leagues may not resume.

#staysafe

Final day – SAB League

This weekend sees the conclusion of the SAFA 3rd Division (SAB LEAGUE).
The past 2 weeks we’ve witnessed a turnaround and shift in log positions due to DC rulings which had not only points deducted but also added to affected clubs.

This has caused Young Pirates, who were leading the log, to drop to second as Matroosfontein benefited with the addition of points and now head the log with 1 game to go.

Effectively 3 clubs are in the running for the league on the final day. Matroosfontein lay in 1st place with 57 points while both Young Pirates and Hanover Park are 2 points adrift.

Hanover Park is probably the outside bet as they need to win their match against Greenwood and also depend on the top 2 to lose their matches. There are various scenarios which could result in any of the top 3 taking the title however, Matroosfontein holds their own destiny in their hands and if they win their final match against Cape Town City, they win the league.

The bottom half has just much tension as clubs play for their survival and with the drop of Ubuntu to the ABC Motsepe League having an effect on the lower leagues, it will be more than the standard 2 teams who will be relegated.

The number of teams who will be relegated will be confirmed after the 2nd division for NFD playoff and the 3rd division for ABC Motsepe playoff. If Steenberg United and the SAB League winner both get through the playoffs, fewer teams will be dropped from the SAB League.

Kuilsriver AFC who were the worst affected by the DC Rulings are bottom of the log and they will be relegated after Saturday’s match. The bottom sides all have tough encounters on Saturday and a few unexpected results are on the cards as clubs fight till the last day to secure their status.

What an exciting end to a crazy season where the log table was close through the year. Last season FN Rangers won the league with 70 points and the last team in that season finished with 18 points, compared to this season where the 60 point mark can win the league and the last team can end with 31 points. Proof of how tight it was this year.

Newcomers make their mark

Matroosfontein and Two Oceans doing battle in the Nedbank cup earlier this year

New comers Matroosfontein hold the top of the log position at the end of year break in the SAFA 3rd division.

The team earned their spot in the league via the promotion playoffs and have racked up the victories only losing 1 out of 8 matches played thus far.

When asked about his team’s log position, Coach Patrick had this to say

“We have been working hard and smart because it’s not easy to play in this league where you have to balance between age and youth. To keep players motivated we try to get every player on the field and still pick up points in that way I think they stay prepared to play and support each other. We don’t choose our games, every game is as important as the last one played”

Their results have proven that the above approach has worked for the newbies and some key scalps have been collected the way. Silver Spurs, Greenwood Athletic, Hanover Park and Junction Rovers all suffered losses to Matroosfontein. Heading into the new year Coach Patrick and his team will hope they can maintain their results and end their first season in league at the highest place possible.

The 2nd promoted team of last year Young Pirates have also had a positive start to their campaign. Pirates end up 2nd at the break and have been identified as one of the title chasers for this season. Their form hasn’t been consistent but they have the firing power up front and have the highest goals scored at 26 with Taahir Jumat netting 9 for his team and currently the top scorer in the league.

At the start of the season Pirates seemed unstoppable but with losses to Cape Town United and Junction Rovers, including a draw with Bluegum United, Coach Roger Fortune has to get his team back on track come January to keep their title aspirations alive.

Another new comer this year is Nova Nacional who purchased the Riverside Rangers franchise, end up mid table at the break. It’s now well known that the club has a strong financial backing and have huge aspirations for the club. The club has found the league tougher than planned and have already had 2 exits in management. Imraan Morgan was introduced as the General Manager when the club was started, exited early in the season while former head coach Vorgen Less was no longer in charge after their draw to Goal 50 Unite.

Top goalscorer Taahier Jumat of Pirates holding off Jayden Geduldt from Nova

Coach Mike Lukhubene has been assisting with training sessions at Nova as a temporary measure and the team has already had a good result, recording a hard earned win against Rebels.

The final new comer this season is Cape Town City who purchased the Atlantic Nacional franchise, who were relegated from the ABC Motsepe League last year. The team is filled with young talents and have already built a reputation of being disciplined in their style of play. City are currently in the drop zone and might have the element of experience missing from their squad.

This season has been competitive so far with only 6 points difference between last spot and mid table which means a good winning streak by any of the bottom teams can boost them into the top 8.