Hopes for Motsepe league dashed

2018-11-08 06:02
The Cape Royal FC team (in white) shakes hands with Crystal Palace FC players before the game decider played out in Hickory Road AstroTurf opposite Athlone Stadium on Tuesday 30 October. Cape Royal missed out on promotion to the ABC Motsepe League.PHOTO: velani ludidi

The Cape Royal FC team (in white) shakes hands with Crystal Palace FC players before the game decider played out in Hickory Road AstroTurf opposite Athlone Stadium on Tuesday 30 October. Cape Royal missed out on promotion to the ABC Motsepe League.PHOTO: velani ludidi

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The Helderberg’s hope of having a team playing in the ABC Motsepe League next season was shattered last Tuesday night, 30 October, when local champions Cape Royal were knocked out in the semi-finals by Crystal Palace FC of Manenberg in Hickory Road AstroTurf, opposite Athlone stadium.

The team needed only one win to secure their place in the league. The first half was contested by both teams, and there were no clear chances, and they went to the break without scoring any goals.

The second half was do or die for both teams, and Crystal Palace opened the score sheet in the 59th minute. This goal meant the visitors had to push numbers forward and that left them exposed at the back.

Cape Royal tried breaking the home side’s defence, but that proved to be a mountain too high to climb. It was in the 86th minute when they finally found the back of the net and took the match to penalties.

Cape Royal missed their third penalty, but the keeper put them back in the game by saving the fourth penalty. The five penalties were not enough to separate the two teams and it was time for sudden death when Cape Royal missed, losing 5-4.

Men were brought close to tears when they lost and could not talk to City Vision. The supporters who travelled with the team from Strand were also emotional. It was only a single game they needed to break the over two-decade curse of not advancing to the upper league.

Coach Dumsani Soyamba believes luck was not on their side. “We did everything we could but could not convert chances,” he said. “We played against an experienced team, and I am happy with the way my boys played. This was their first time in play-offs, and they showed fighting spirit. Penalties are a lottery, anyone can win them.”

Soyamba said he is meeting with the team chairman to discuss plans for the future.

Deputy chairman Themba Ngxovu said the team tried their best. “We are all disappointed because we wanted the win, but the boys tried,” he said. “They lost on penalties, and penalties can go either way.”

Ngxovu said he expects next season to be tough. “Cape Royal surprised everyone by clinching the league title and that will give other teams hope that they can to emulate that,” he said. “We expect a tough season and as the executive of the league we are impressed by the progress.”

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