Tag: Nova Nacional

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

Summer Round Up – Part 1

With both the SAFA 3rd division and 2nd division all done and dusted we take a look at what was what in the 2 local Cape Town respective leagues.

The 3rd division was probably the toughest it’s been for a long time with no specific team dominating the league. Young Pirates clinched the title with only 58 points which is a low tally compared to previous seasons where the same point total would get a team a 2nd place on the log.

A few teams were in and out of the top 5 but it was clear that Pirates and Matroosfontein were the pacesetters with Greenwood keeping in touch. Both Pirates and Matroos were newcomers to the league this season after winning promotion from the playoffs and together with Nova Nacional were part of a group of new teams who made their presence felt in their first season.

The participation of Cape Town City this season was a cause of curiosity as many were wondering about the team make up and asking if the PSL club would make an impact on the local 3rd division. A development tool for City, the team showed promise and excitement in the friendly matches preceding the season but unfortunately, the lack of experience seemed to be their Achilles heel.

This year proved to some that this league is not easily won and it takes more than just pitching up on a match day and expecting to win as teams with fewer resources can make an impact.

A total of 771 goals were scored in 480 matches for the season and many teams displayed some entertaining football. We also had a few comebacks like Kuilsriver who clawed their way up from the drop zone only to be relegated after DC ruling had 12 points deducted from them. Other teams like Goal 50, Cape Town City, Rebels, and Bluegum United managed to survive and were often in the relegation cauldron.

With Ubuntu FC being relegated from the NFD, the possible ripple effect for the 3rd division meant that more than the usual 2 teams could be relegated but fortunately both Steenberg United and Young Pirates won their respective playoffs, meaning that only 2 teams were dropped from the league.
Those 2 teams were Bayview FC, who are the current Coke Cup champs and Kuilsriver.

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.

Bayhill Premier Cup – Delivering Action

So today is day 3 at the U19 Bayhill Premier Cup at Erica Park and we take a quick look at what’s been happening over the past 2 days.

Although the tournament is an institution on the football calendar it doesn’t come without its criticism from some quarters especially after the cancelling of last year’s event due to the water crisis.
The negativity is swiftly a memory as the tournament so far has delivered what majority of people attend the Bayhill for, and that is unpredictability, future stars, local participation, local competing against youth of the “big guns”, excitement and great vibe.

The football on display has been well worth the trip to Erica Park, which by the way is in good shape. The pitch has been a talking point but after day 2 it is still showing signs of holding up for the weekend. Obviously with the rigorous activity continuing it is expected to deteriorate everyday but let’s hope it stays intact.

Back to the football and some results which stand out include local club Silver Spurs holding Mamelodi Sundowns to a 0-0 draw. This was Spurs’ 2nd match after they beat Blackbirds Academy 2-0 the day before.
Wednesday night we witnessed a Mitchells Plain derby where Rocka a fellas were convincingly beaten by Beacon Spurs 4-0 while on Thursday, a Cape District derby delivered an unexpected result as Greenwood Athletic defeated Grassy Park United 1-0. Greenwood end the day on 6 points after recording a 2-0 win over Bayview FC on Wednesday.

Cape Town City didn’t have it easy against HBUFC but their individual quality shone through as they beat the Hout Bay side 2-0. Visitors Highlands Park delivered a good performance when they faced debutants Nova Nacional and won their game 3-0, while current champions Supersport recorded a 1-0 win against Jacaranda Callies.

Day 3 action kicks off at 3PM and promises to deliver more of the same and even better as the stakes are raised with teams fighting to book their place in the knockout stages.

See you there!!

3RD Division snap report – Joe Pillay

SAFA Cape Town’s SAB League season has been nothing short of entertainment and competitiveness. The 16-team league is approaching its closing stages with just under 10 fixtures remaining.

Topping the stands is Young Pirates with 43 points which could have been more had they not dropped two valuable points this past weekend in a 2-2 draw against Nova Nacional FC.

Fortunately for Pirates, their closest contenders, Matroosfontein FC were also held to a 1-1 draw by Rebels FC while third from the top, Greenwood Athletic also failed to capitalize on the top two sides’ draws as they went down by a 1-0 to Bellstar United.

A high scoring game took place between Junction Rovers and Two Oceans Academy as Rovers fought to a 6-4 victory in a 10-goal thriller at home.

Bluegum United had it all to do at home when they welcomed Goal 50 United who only managed to get one goal in a 3-1 loss against the hosts while Bayview FC edged Hanover Park by a 2-1 margin.

The fight for promotion to the ABC Motsepe League will be quite interesting in the next weeks leading up to the season’s conclusion.

Bellstar fail to repeat positive result

On Saturday we popped in at Symphony way Sports field to catch some action between Bellstar United and Nova Nacional.

Bellstar recorded a great win in their previous match against log leaders Matroosfontein and probably felt very positive going into this encounter.

It was Nova though that had a near perfect start when Joshua Roman scored in the 4th minute off a set piece where the goalkeeper of Bellstar, Marlon Van Wyk, failed to collect the ball after miscommunication with his defenders. Roman took full advantage of the mishap and scored the opener.

With the home side trailing 1-0, they managed to settle back into the game and by the 20th minute the match was a bit more balanced. Bellstar also started asserting themselves with quick passing and great combinations with midfielder Ismail Lot doing a good job in linking with the attacking players.

Bellstar keeper Marlon Van Wyk taps the ball over the crossbar

Nova Nacional were forced to defend and attempt to capitalize on the counter as Bellstar created numerous opportunities but were unable to find the final pass and convert their chances.

The second half saw Nova with an improving performance as they worked on keeping Bellstar on the back foot. The introduction of Ramario Van De Meulen for the home side posed a headache for the Nacional defence especially for right back Keanan Green.

Van De Meulen displayed his pace off the ball as he managed to get behind the Nova defensive line on more than one occasion.

The home side were dealt a blow in the 35th minute of the second half when they had a defender red carded for committing a professional foul on Nova’s Adeeb Khan. With just the goalkeeper to beat, Khan was brought down just outside the box.

Angelo Barrote of Nova and Ismail Lot from Bellstar battle for possession

Bellstar still created some opportunities but were unable to find the equaliser and record their 6th loss of the season. Nova Nacional on the other hand continue their winning ways after beating Bayview FC the previous week and move to 7th spot on the log.

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.

Park & Nova share spoils

So, two games done and dusted in the SAB League and already some are making predictions. Premature many would say as this year’s start has already been exciting.

To kick off the season newcomers Nova Nacional, who purchased the Riverside Rangers spot, hosted an exciting launch at the River Club and with that sending a strong message to the rest of the football world that they mean business. With strong financial backing and a clear vision the team attracted high expectation from others.

After their two matches they have earned a point after losing to Greenwood and drawing with Hanover Park last Friday. The Hanover Park vs Nova Nacional match felt like a match between two sides yet to find their rhythm. For Nacional it is obvious as every match for them is a new experience and for Hanover Park it was probably new Head Coach Jerome Seherie implementing his style on the group.
Hanover Park looked more the assertive side especially in the first half with experienced midfielder Fernel Abrahams calling the shots. On the counter though the Nacional team created chances and in the 15th minute Rubin Matts had Nova’s first shot on target but was saved by Gary Jassman, the Park goalkeeper.

Nova’s next clear chance was in the 30th minute when Faizel Johnson found himself taking a shot in the 18 yard area but once again Jassman saved for Park.
In the next few minutes Hanover Park came close to scoring but missed the target twice when defender Nathan Idas headed wide from corner set pieces.

The 40th minute was the last chance created in the half for Nova when Wesley Lottering held onto the ball too long and was tackled in the box causing the ball to ricochet to Matts who saw his shot saved again by Jassman diving to his bottom left, collecting the ball.

At halftime the match was goalless but with Hanover Park looking more likely to score as they were much sharper to the ball while Nova was containing the pressure and creating chances from the break.

Hanover Park Warming up

It didn’t take long for the home side to break the deadlock as Xola Balele took advantage of a breakdown during the Nova play and scored the opener in the 10th minute.

Nova Nacional equalised in the 24th minute when the ball was played over the Park defence and Faizel Johnson was first to react and slipped the ball pass Jassman and into the back of the net.

The rest of the half had opportunities for both sides but the away side showing more purpose in their attack. The match ended 1-1.