Athlone squads dominate Coke Cup senior section

Hazendal FC goalkeeper Riyaaz Niewenhuys was rock-solid in defence during his side’s nerve-wracking penalty shoot out against Westridge. Picture: Fuad Esack

Teams from the Athlone News catchment area reigned supreme in the senior division of Safa Cape Town’s flagship competition, the Coca-Cola Amateur Cup competition, at this weekend.

In quarter-final matches played in Khayelitsha and Dunoon, on Sunday, Hanover Park FC, Diadora, Hazendal and Goulburn all advanced to the semi-finals.

Hazendal FC assistant coach Tahier Martin, along with head coach Kevin Levin and the rest of their technical crew can be forgiven for biting their nails during a tense penalty shoot out against Westridge FC, in their clash at the Dunoon sports complex, after playing to a 1-all draw.

Cool, calm and collected, goalkeeper Riyaaz Niewenhuys took up up position between the posts, pulling off two match-winning saves to give his team the advantage. Hazendal’s spot kickers, Justin Jacobus, Ashraf van der Berg, Natheer Ismail, Amien Awaldien and Jared van der Berg finished the job, to help their side to a 5-3 win and a place in Sunday’s semi-finals, due to be played at Westridge’s home ground, in Mitchell’s Plain.

Hazendal FC’s Natheer Abrahams outjumps Zaundre van Niekerk, during his side’s tight Coke Cup quarter-final match against Westridge FC, in Dunoon, on Sunday. Hazendal won 5-3 on penalties after playing to a 1-all draw. Picture: Fuad Esack

Their victory marks a bit of a milestone in the club’s history, as they’ve never reached this stage of the competition on previous attempts, Martin said.

Also, they’ve had a memorable season, both in this competition and in the league this season, he said.

With a few games left to play, they will face log leaders South End in a Rygate LFA top of the table clash, at Johnson Road, on Wednesday. “If we get the three points, we will go on top,” said Martin.

Head coach Levin agrees, saying: “We started the game well but after 15 minutes into the game we allowed them to come at us.”

Levin’s side conceded a goal just before half time and suffered an injury, forcing them to make a few adjustments.

Twenty minutes into the second half, fortune smiled on Hazendal as they were awarded a penalty, which Jared van der Berg converted from the spot.

“The boys lifted their game and looked after the ball better,” said Levin, as he described how his team had to work their socks off to keep Westridge at bay. “Take nothing away from Westridge,” he said, “They came at us but our defence did brilliant, making goal line clearances.”

Westridge FC’s and Hazendal’s Ashraf Bester tussle for possession during their sides’ Coke Cup quarter-final match on Sunday. Picture: Fuad Esack

Confidence in their goalkeeper’s ability helped to ease the nerves, but their worries was far from over as they prepared for the dreaded penalty at the end of normal time.

“Penalties is like a lottery but we knew if we keep the players calm and focused they will put the ball in the net for us. Then, our goal keeper will win it for us,” he said.

“We knew that Riyaaz was going do it for the team, but yes, I was biting my nails.” Martin added. “After the first save, I definitely knew we could do it it and with the confidence of the kickers, I knew we had it,” he said.

Hazendal’s FC Rivano Swartz sandwiched between defenders during his side’s match against Westridge. Picture: Fuad Esack

He said the club faced a lot of ups and down this year, including losing captain Ashwin Niewenhuis, goalkeeper Riyaaz’ cousin, due to a broken leg, but that they are happy the way things currently stand.

Hazendal’s Shamryn Matthys challenges for the ball with Devon Bailey, breathing down his neck, during their sides’ Coke Cup quarter-final clash. Picture: Fuad Esack

One of the biggest highlights for the club will be to win the league for the third time consecutive year, to make the Third Division and of course, to win the Coke Cup final,“ he said.

Hazendal FC’s Jordan Hess clears the ball during his side’s 5-3 penalty win against Westridge. Picture: Fuad Esack
  • In other action, Hanover Park-based Diadora FC ace marksman, Siya Madikane, was unstoppable against Lavender Hill, scoring a hat-trick in the second half, to help side to a 3-1 victory.
Diadora sharp shooter Siya Madikana looking relaxed ahead of his first of two penalty strikes in his side’s 3-1 win against Lavender Hill. Picture: Fuad Esack

Sunday’s game was very competitive. You can see that Lavender Hill studied us a lot and they have very experienced guys, said coach Mangaliso “Shakes” Ntombana.

Diadora’s Shaheed Abrahams slips past his marker during his side’s 3-1 win in a Coke Cup quarter-final fixture against Lavender Hill. Picture: Fuad Esack

Lavender Hill’s defence stood firm in the first half, making it difficult for Diadora to find their rhythm, resulting in a goalless stalement going into the break and forcing Ntombana to shake things up.

Lavender Hill goalkeeper Lance Lawrence kept busy during Sunday’s Coke Cup quarter-final match. Picture: Fuad Esack

He told his star striker to take it easy, to be patient, as the defence was all over him whenever he touched the ball.

“Siya is a striker that can score at any time,” Ntombana said.

“In the first half he couldn’t do that much as every time he had the ball, there were a lot of players on top of him.

“I told him that he needs to be patient and that any small chance he got, he must make use of it,” he said.

Diadora’s hattrick hero, Siya Madikane, a marked man for most of the first half, gives the defence a hard time during Sunday’s Coke Cup clash. Picture: Fuad Esack

“Siya always rise up to the occasion, whether it is quarter-finals or semi-finals, his experience always shines through. Even last season, he scored many goals for us,” said Ntombana.

Lavender Hill goalkeeper Lance Lawrence sent the wrong way during one of two penalties slotted home by Siya Madikane during Sunday’s Coke Cup quarter-finals, at Du Noon. Picture: Fuad Esack

The coaches faith was rewarded as Madikane slotted home two penalties and a goal.

Lavender Hill nearly equalised matters with a penalty of their own, but missed.

However, they managed to pull one back a few minutes later but it was not enough to see them through.