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ANTALYA - After putting up a gallant fight to reach the final of the World Schools' Championship, Rosina Sedibane high school lost 4-1 to Cyprus in a pulsating game at the Antalyaspor Stadium in Turkey on Sunday.
Sedibane had overcome a sloppy start to the tournament.
They had lost 1-0 to Turkey and 2-1 to Slovakia before getting their act together and hammering Poland 15-0.
They followed that up with 4-1 victories over Greece and Italy to qualify for the knockout stages.
From that moment on, the South Africans became the talk of the 25-team event. And, they did not disappoint as they saw off Belgium 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the quarter finals and followed that up with a similar result after a 1-all draw at regulation time. No extra time was played.
Under the watchful eye of the shrewd youth mentor Godfrey Mosoetsa, the boys were a marvel to watch as they tore into each opposition with skill and panache. It was hard to single out any player as they played as a unit, with the co-ordination of an orchestra.
But, strikers Lebogang Mahonko and Jerry Mxabo shone brighter as they converted from the wonderful build-ups by midfield generals Mbuso Manyoni and Snethemba Ngidi.
Captain fantastic Miguel Timm was able to marshal his troops from central defence, where he was partnered by Brandon Joshua and Zakhele Nkosi.
In the final against Cyprus, Sedibane became victims of their own success. The earlier success came back to haunt them.
Cyprus got an early goal and when Rosina tried to respond, a second followed from a counter attack. From there it was always going to be difficult to come back.
At the end, the boys from Tshwane had to settle for second best but were still considered the team that made the event tick and exciting.