Winning run earns young natalians the title

2018-05-16 06:02
PHOTO: nflYoung Natalians of Pietermaritzburg have won the National Futsal League (NFL) for the second time in three seasons.

PHOTO: nflYoung Natalians of Pietermaritzburg have won the National Futsal League (NFL) for the second time in three seasons.

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THE National Futsal League (NFL)
title is back in Pietermaritzburg, thanks to an amazing winning run by Young Natalians in recent months.

The goal-crazy local outfit have secured the title for the second time in three seasons through winning their last eight matches, after being put under immense pressure by defending champions eThekwini City.

“What’s more amazing about our league success is that almost every one of our last five or so games were must-win affairs because eThekwini had played more games than us and got points from those, so we needed to keep winning to keep our title hopes and fortunately, we did,” said elated Natalians coach Greg Nair.

“Because of the way the league panned out, basically from the start of the second round of fixtures, we were in a real pressure situation. So, I thought the guys did very well under the circumstances.”

Nair’s champions will close the 12-match league season with a derby against Maritzburg Hotspurs at the local YMCA on Friday, following crucial 5-1 wins they posted against both Tshwane City and OBC Chicken in Gauteng at the weekend to move into an unassailable position in the standings.

He can foresee his men getting another win this week to crown their glory, and he knows they will also be extremely hungry to win the NFL knockout tournament planned for
July.

“Two seasons ago, we won the league and Cup, but it was a hard pill to swallow when we finished second to eThekwini in the league and Cup last season.

“As such, we started this season with the big aim of reclaiming the league. We knew the team to beat would be eThekwini and that we had to do it in both rounds of the league, which we did,” explained Nair, a car parts dealer in the city. “Game by game, we got stronger, and I think the big difference for us this season has been our ability to dominate possession even more than before, up to 90% in games.

“The new players we brought in, such as Quincy Ngcobo, were also a great help and really supported our top striker Tsepo Liphuko. We also had a lot of playing and coaching experience to count on, and we played with high intensity throughout. “Now, we plan to win the Cup again.” In terms of the log standings ahead of this week’s final league matches, Natalians, eThekwini and Hotspurs will remain in the top three positions regardless of the match outcomes.In fact, the other teams will also stay where they are at present because of the points situation which has seen KwaZulu-Natal sides dominate the NFL once again.

HOW THEY STAND

Team P W D L F A Pts
Natalians 11 9 1 1 42 28 28
eThekwini 12 8 2 2 76 45 26
Hotspurs 11 7 0 4 45 36 21
Titans 11 5 1 5 53 51 16
Eagles 11 3 3 5 52 55 12
OBC 11 2 1 8 35 47 7
Tshwane 11 1 0 10 23 63 3

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