Thu Oct 27 08:55:47 SAST 2016

It's juventus

By unknown | May 05, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Juventus African FC were crowned this year's Safa SAB Regional League national champions after beating favourites Abakah FC of Gauteng 2-1 in an exciting final played at Arbor Park Stadium in Newcastle on Saturday.

The Eastern Cape Third Division side, who will now be campaigning in the Second Division, had to be tactically and mentally strong to beat the Gautengers, who had won all their matches leading to the finals.

Asanda Kama and Siyabonga January scored their team's goals, while John Manganyi pulled one back for Abakah.

The match had all the ingredients of a final.

Juventus scooped the R12000 prize money that was at stake in the tournament.

Despite losing their opening match 2-0 to Kuils River, Juventus picked up momentum as the tournament progressed.

Coach Thabo Hlomi praised his charges for turning that loss into a motivation.

"The defeat boosted the confidence of the players because we knew that we lost because we had travelled for 16 hours by bus to be in Newcastle, so obviously the players were tired.

"But one thing we had in mind was to collect maximum points from the next games and we did," said Hlomi.

He said they had planned for Abakah around their strengths.

"We knew their strength was around the ball. They are very comfortable with the ball and I told my players that they must not let them play.

"I told them to contain them, to counter each and every of their attack and it worked. Our strikers are also taller and we used that to our advantage," he said.

Hlomi said they would represent Eastern Cape well in the Vodacom League, adding that the fact that there was only one team (Bay United) playing in the Second Division was a challenge to them to do well.

Meanwhile, Safa will engage former Bafana Bafana team doctor Victor Ramathesele to determine whether or not a substance used by Simple Yellow was among those banned.

Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko, chairman of the competitions committee, said they discovered that Simple Yellow used an unknown substance in one of their matches.

"We are taking the matter seriously and we want a medical determination to see if the substance used is not banned in soccer," he said.

In the third and fourth playoff, Kuils River beat Simple Yellow 3-1. In other categories: Player of the tournament - Cambridge Mashego (Abakah); Top goalscorer - Job Maphutha (6) (Simple Yellow).


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