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Football Foundation Boys Made of Resilient Stuff

Match day in Kleinmond: Game Coverage of the U-15 and U-17 Football boys

On Friday 1st May 2015, 40 players from the under 15 and the under 17 football teams and three coaches left the Masakhane township en route to face Kleinmond in a friendly match. After an hour’s drive we arrived at Kleinmond where we were met by their spectacular field on top of the mountains, overlooking the town and prevailing ocean. 

Grootbos U15 vs. Kleinmond

As 11:30am approached, the referee blew the starting whistle. The Grootbos Football Foundation team (GFF) started stronger, creating some good chances and even coming close to leading early on; despite Kleinmond’s players being considerably bigger and stronger. Ten minutes into the game, the referee blew his whistle giving what looked to be a clear penalty for GFF team. However, controversially the linesman disagreed with the referee convincing him to overturn his initial decision – to the dissatisfaction of the GFF team members.

Five minutes later GFF got their next chance. A long ball up the field from defence was taken down skilfully by the left-winger placing the ball in the right hand corner of the goal. After the early chances it was a lead well deserved for GFF. The team continued having the better chances in the course of the first half, but missed to score a second goal on the stroke of halftime. The referee blew the halftime whistle after thirty minutes of play.

After changing ends Kleinmond switched their style of play, playing much tighter and forcing the leading teams direct style of football to become much wider. Five minutes into the second half, Kleinmond’s right wing weighted an inch perfect cross into the middle of the GFF penalty box for their striker to place the ball in the bottom left hand corner. No chance for the keeper as the ball was sweetly struck. GFF heads dropped as another attack lead to another goal – Kleinmond began to take charge of the game – scoring again to make the score 2:1.

Unfortunately, any GFF efforts to counter the momentum of the game failed with little reward to come. Five minutes before the final whistle, Kleinmond worked another good chance and scored their fourth goal. Luck was however not on the side of GFF as Kleinmond took the win with a 4:1 final result. Outplayed and out of luck the GFF were justly disappointed with the result; so too were the coaches declaring a hard approach to training in the week to come.

However, with the game over, the players had reason to smile sharing some well deserved sandwiches with the coaches and staff – the result was masked by an enjoyable day of football and then it was onto the under 17’s to try their hands at facing Kleinmond!

Under 17s

On the stroke of one o’clock, the second match of the day began: GFF under 17s against a high-spirited Kleinmond under 17 team. With the teams having watched their predecessors before, it seemed home advantage was very much in full swing. 

However, the GFF team were inspired to put right the wrongs of the morning and after a great passing interchange between Sibabalwe and Mzamo on the right wing, Mawande had his first chance to score, shaving the post with a great striking effort. Any sign of a home advantage soon faded as the GFF team created a series of dangerous attacking play. Another move through the midfield and a great pass saw Zukisa pick up the ball in the box, his shot saved by an athletic dive from Kleinmond’s goalkeeper, but his parry wasn’t enough and Mawande pounced on the loose ball. 1:0 GFF!

GFF couldn’t wrest on their laurels and Kleinmond were spurred into action. The balance of the game soon went into favour of the home side, and attack after attack forced some focused defending from the GFF boys. Mawande, M., also known as ‘Tower’, playing centre back cut out many chances by Kleinmond with some classic defending. As pressure built, ‘Tower’ lead the backline for the GFF and as the pressure mounted; they were saved by the bell – coming in the form of the referees whistle for halftime.

A much-needed break in momentum, the coaches praised the team for their great start and solid defence. Coaches Colja and Franzi lay down the instructions for the second half, notably to stay focussed and test the goalkeeper more often. Making some substitutions, it was time for the game to begin again.

Kleinmond picking up where they left off, testing the GFF goalkeeper, and forcing ‘Tower’ to step into action again – he was everywhere and was the stand out defender of the game; an example to his slower-starting teammates. An unfortunate defensive error by Thuba, the other GFF centre-back, kicking over the ball saw the striker pick up the loose ball and put it past Bongani, the GFF goalkeeper. 1:1 15 minutes in.

The next, and last 15 minutes of the match saw Kleinmond fail to capitalise upon one good chance after another, while the GFF team tried their hardest to clear the ball from their own half. The atmosphere on the side-lines was tense as coaches from both teams shouted passionately from the touchline to their players. At this stage, the game could have gone either way.

With the game drawing to a close, Bongani was forced to save several shots and initiated a counterattack by sending a long ball forward to Onke. A foul on Onke resulted in a GFF freekick, this would be the last chance of the game. The sideline erupted in cheering and jeering as Yanga lined up the ball. As cool as a cucumber he chipped the ball into the penalty area, right in the danger zone. Several GFF players had attempts at goal before Sibabalwe finally made the most of his chance, fooling the keeper and netting the attempt brilliantly – 1:2!

A tense few minutes as the ball traversed up and down the field in tennis like fashion – coaches, players and fans alike awaiting the final whistle edgily. The atmosphere was loud, enthusiastic and full of energy as the game agonisingly carried on past overtime. A hoof of the ball up-field and that was it, the game was won to the sound of the final whistle. The GFF team and coaches erupted with relief – they’d won, and won doggedly, the sign of a feisty and high-spirited team with no giving up.

After the match, the under 17 boys were happy with the win, as too were the under 15 boys pleased to have had their efforts covered up by the gutsy performance. As the formalities of post-match life got into full swing, the three best players from the GFF teams were handed out donated football shoes, sports shirts and shin guards by Nicolas Neff (a foundation supporter and kit donator).

All in all, a match day saga unrivalled by most – a great day out with the Grootbos Football Foundation boys. It's pleasing to see some hard work, guts and determination from your players as a coach - and at Kleinmond our lads didn't disappoint.

*Stay posted for more match reports and updates on our Facebook site, as well as on Twitter and our website.

Written by Franzi Eurich, Colja Ternes and Richard Litchenberg (Coaches at the Grootbos Football Foundation)

Edited by Matthew James Kirk (PR and Media Intern at the Grootbos Foundation)

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