The Brebner High School boys’ football team has become a force to be reckoned with in their debut season in the SAB League of the Mangaung Metro.
The club is one of three clubs with a realistic chance of winning the third-tier league with the reward being to compete for promotion to the second-tier division, the ABC Motsepe League.
The other two clubs up for the challenge are Botshabelo-based Mathaithai and Bloemfontein-based Glen Knowledge FC.
Three points separate the three clubs. Mathaithai is at the top with 52 points followed by Brebner with 49 points and Knowledge with 48 points.
The trio has lost the least matches of the 16 clubs in the competition played under the auspices of the South African Football Association (Safa).
Brebner suffered two losses while Mathaithai and Knowledge three losses each.
They are left with seven league fixtures (21 points) to determine the ultimate champion.
Gutsy Brebner boys sent a message at the beginning of the season that they would be one of the teams to watch in this league in its challenge for promotion to the second-tier division.
The team started the maiden season like a house on fire, beating seasoned campaigners in the first round of the competition.
The Bloemfontein-based side also drew with experienced clubs in the first round.
The team continued the onslaught in the second leg of the competition.
Brebner’s impressive form saw them briefly top the log in both the first and the second round of the league.
It was until two months ago when dethroned by current log leaders Mathaithai who they shared the spoils in a return league fixture played in Bloemfontein in February. Mathaithai won by 2 – 1 in the first round.
Brebner is led by former learner, Lee Bateman.
Bateman, who in the early 2000’s had a brief stint in America and with Bloemfontein Celtic, is optimistic his charges are capable to stand the test the three-horse championship presents.
Optimism emanates from the recruitment of four youthful players that he rates as talented – two central defenders, an offensive midfielder and an anchor midfielder.
“We have six players in Gr. 12, so it was necessary to bolster the team,” said Bateman.
He said enlistments have given the team the much-needed firepower in the striking force in the champion challenge.
“We stay positive and motivated. We have always been competitive and don’t like losing. Once we had reached five games without a loss, we knew that anything is possible, not forgetting that without the school’s facilities and support we are nothing,” said Bateman.
Brebner’s immediate challenge is improving its ability to convert the scoring opportunities they create, given this was a factor in matches they drew and loss.
However, Brebner has gained significant ground in the championship challenge. These young warriors are one of the favourites to clinch the title.
Meanwhile, five teams in this league are facing the danger of being relegated – James FC (21 points), Botshabelo Lynx (20 points), Kodisang FC (19 points), Mangaung City (13 points) and Arms United (9 points).
Two clubs will be relegated to the lowest division of football at the end of the current season.