Argentina rule festive tourney

Dan Fuphe

Dan Fuphe

Thabiso "Skaapie" Malatsi was in peak form when his side Argentina FC beat Etwatwa Shamrocks 2-1 to win the Pollen Festive Games 2008 tournament in front of a capacity crowd at Marivate Park in Daveyton on New Year's eve.

The games, organised by former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates player, Pollen "Trompies" Ndlanya, proved to be popular with the soccer starved fans in the area.

By virtue of the unceremonious collapse of the Ibhola Lethu off-season games, once headed by Raymond Vukani Njoetjana (Hlatshwayo), Ndlanya has become the deserving custodian of the games, albeit under a new name.

Though both sides started the final with determination and powerful shots at goals, it was Argentina, led by Malatsi, who set the pace and dictated terms, forcing Shamrocks' keeper Bafana Mpesi to make daring saves.

The game was only 15 minutes old when Malatsi scored from a penalty following a rough tackle on Lucky Masilo by Tholi Mabena.

Working in close unison with Philip Mbonani and Sello Moeketsi, Malatsi continued to run circles around the listless Shamrocks defensive line of Tholi Sambo and Godfrey Mahlangu.

Stanley Manzini managed to make amends for his earlier mishaps in front of goal, when he scored Argentina's second goal just minutes before the interval.

Tebogo Malatji managed to pull one back for Shamrocks with a well taken penalty kick.

This was after he was dangerously tackled from behind during a goalmouth scramble by Terrence Mabaso.

For winning this prestigious yearly event, Argentina received R20000, a floating trophy and medals, while Shamrocks took home R10000 and medals.

In the juniors, Inter-Milan pipped Crystal Park FC by a single goal to become the 2008 Champions.