Steenberg off to national playoffs

2016-05-10 06:00
Eathon Swartz of Crystal Palace (left) is seen fighting for the ball with Dobin Rhode of Steenberg United in their ABC Motsepe League match at The Greens on Saturday. Steenberg won the match 2-1 to be crowned champions of the league.  PHOTO: Peter Abrahams/DiE Son

Eathon Swartz of Crystal Palace (left) is seen fighting for the ball with Dobin Rhode of Steenberg United in their ABC Motsepe League match at The Greens on Saturday. Steenberg won the match 2-1 to be crowned champions of the league. PHOTO: Peter Abrahams/DiE Son

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A highly motivated Steenberg United will be packing their bags for a trip to the City of Roses to compete for promotion to the National First Division (NFD).

The week-long national play-offs take place from Monday 6 to Sunday 12 June in Bloemfontein.

This comes after Mike Lukukhuene’s Steenberg chargers, who seemed dead and buried after being 1-0 down, turned this exciting and absorbing game from the jaws of defeat to score twice with the decisive match-winning goal coming in the referees’ added time.

Steenberg were crowned Safa Western Cape Regional ABC Motsepe League champions on the back of this unbelievable 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace at the Greens Astroturf sports complex in Manenberg on Saturday.

It must be acknowledged that the referee Masixolo Bambiso from George in full view of match commissioner and likeable World Cup accredited FIFA referee Jerome Damon was on the button and handled this needle in a haystack high pressure encounter brilliantly.

The valuable three points enabled Steenberg United to consolidate their top of the log position and end the 2015/2016 season on 66 points from 30 matches – one point ahead of defending champions Glendene United.

Last season Glendene United also won the league championship by a difference of a single point, pipping new champions Steenberg United, who then had to be content with the bridesmaid tag.

This time round it is owner Shaffie Mowzer’s Glendene side that had to bite the bullet even though they too won their away game 1-0 against The Magic at Royal Road in Maitland on Saturday.

The only goal scored in the 70th minute through Madkane Siyambonga brought much relief and a flicker of hope for Glendene United at the time Crystal Palace were still leading Steenberg United 1-0 in Manenberg.

However, with all eyes focused on the clash between Steenberg United and Crystal Palace in which the home side scored through Amir Davids to hold a slender 1-0 lead and held on desperately for dear life, but alas Steenberg United found the equaliser in the 84th minute with a long free kick from 50m out through Isma-iel Stanfield and then in referee’s added optional time Edmund Petersen following a goalmouth melee from a corner kick scored the match winner that send the crowd into a frenzy of non-stop joyous celebration songs.

“It was an unbelievably great game and though we came back strongly to turn things around in our favour. I think we deserve to win the league this time round as we work hard all season for league cup success,” says skipper Marawaan Bantam.

Bantam also played for Cape Town All Stars two seasons before when the All Stars team under coach Dylan Deane won the regional league and promotion to the NFD.

A pretty optimistic and equally confident upbeat Bantam feels this Steenberg squad is loaded with experience and has a blend of top quality players that is prepared to fight to the bitter end and is a side that has been together for two seasons with coach Mike Lukukhuene, an experienced coach who also led Chippa United, the Philippi-based side to the league title and subsequently won promotion to the first division pro ranks.

“Therefore we are confident of holding our own. I’m not saying it is going to be easy but we will prepare well and put up a good fight in the play-offs to gain promotion,” Bantam concludes.

The full ABC Motsepe League results: Steenberg United 2, Crystal Palace 1; Glendene United 1, The Magic 0; Barcelona 2, Atlantic Nacional 0; Ramblers 2, Black Cats 0; Ajax Cape Town 1, Hellenic 1; RC Athletico 2, Milano United 0; Mitchell’s Plain United 3, Ikapa Sporting 2; Zizwe United 2, Grassy Park United 2.

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