By CHRIS TOTOBELA
It was a great weekend for football lovers in Makhanda (Grahamstown) with the conclusion of the Makana LFA under 13 and under 15 tournaments. Sunday 25 August, was the day of the finals of the two competitions with the under 13 final kicking off earlier.
Sophia Stars took on Sakhulutsha in an action-packed contest. Sakhulutsha threw everything at their opponents from the first whistle and created a lot of chances that they failed to convert. Sophia Stars with their backs against the wall spent most of the first half defending and trying to catch Sakhulutsha on the break. Halftime came in a a stalemate.
Sakhulutsha continued where they left off in the second half and put their opponents under enormous pressure, but still failed to make an impact on the scoreboard. Sophia Stars opened the scoring with less than 10 minutes to go when Lethokuhle Moyeni headed home a brilliant cross from the right after being awarded a free kick a few metres from the grandstand.
Sakhulutsha tried to fight back but were let down by poor finishing. The game finally came to an end to the delight of the Sophia Stars faithful. This was a great final and both teams displayed good entertaining football showcasing the great talent that Makhanda has to offer. Sophia Stars’ goalkeeper made a huge difference with his brilliant saves that kept his side in the game.
Both teams have a very solid youth development structures with hard-working and dedicated coaches who spent most of their time with these young footballers. Both Mthuthuzeli Silo of Stars and Siyabonga Masinda of Sakhulutsha are doing great work with limited resources.
In the under-15 final Lakhenathi took on Young Eagles in another entertaining six-goal encounter. Eagles had a very strong start, scoring two quick goals but wasted numerous scoring chances. This brought Lakhenathi slightly back into the game and it was not long before they pulled one goal back just on the stroke of halftime.
Eagles had a 2-1 lead. Lakhenathi came back a totally different side in the second half and eventually equalised. They started believing in themselves and were rewarded with a well taken third goal that got the crowd on their feet. Eagles equalised with only a minute to go after being awarded a penalty as one of Lakhenathi’s defenders handled the ball in the box.
The game went straight to penalties and Eagles won 6-5 after sudden death. Another great performance from both teams as they played without fear and scored superb goals that were of the highest quality. If these games were anything to go by, Makhanda has a very bright future.