Western Cape - new chiefs of African footy?
Sunday, November 29 2009 @ 10:45 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The Western Cape region of South Africa appears to be quickly establishing themselves as South Africa's top football province. This may well come as something of a shock to the older regions of North West and Gauteng provinces. The Western Province, aligned with Collingwood Football Club, recently claimed their first provincial championship, despite being new to the sport.
It was the second National Provincial Championships staged since AFL South Africa expanded into four provinces under 3 years ago. In their first attempt in 2008 the Westerners made the senior grand final, losing comfortably to North West, the original heartland of footy on the continent, 65 points to 33 (reminisce with North West Dockers take open crown, but new guns surprise). Yet just 12 months later they turned the tables. In a later story we'll explore how, but below is a review of the day's action.
This year the four competing regions sent just senior men's teams, but with each containing a number of up and coming youth. Each played the other in a round robin format, with Western Cape winning every match, remarkably with the closest opponent being North West's 33 point loss. The other sides were more evenly matched, but it was North West through to the final to have a second crack at the Cape's Magpies.
It was a disappointing day for Gauteng, which finished above KwaZulu-Natal at the end of the round robin, having knocked over KZN, before losing to them in the playoff for 3rd and 4th. In the main final Western Cape were even more impressive than in their first match up with North West, running out 41 point winners against the home side.
Leading the goalscorers across the tournament were Athi Madikane (WC) 9 goals, Prince Namatswereni (Gauteng) 8 and Steven Matshane (North West) also on 8. Matshane represented South Africa at the 2008 International Cup and also had a trial match with Swan Districts Reserves in the West Australian Football League prior to the Cup.
Leading the votes for best players at the Nationals were Khaya Sikiti 11 votes, Lucky Tywaku 10, Mandla Mgoduka 9, Benji Motuba 7, Steven Malinga 6 and Tshoboko Moagi 6.
Magpies Coach Siya Mamkeli was thrilled by his team’s performance over the 3 days of competition, “For someone who has never played myself, but who loves the game and wants to learn as much as I can about AFL, winning the Nationals is a great honour,” said the humble newcomer from Nyanga township, 20 minutes from Cape Town.
“The standard of competition at this year’s event was noticeable better than last year which is a great indicator that we are heading in the right direction,” said AFL South Africa’s Talent Manager and best known player Mtutuzeli Hlomela.
2009 footyWILD National Championships Results – Finals - Friday September 25, Mohadin Cricket Ground, Potchefstroom, North West Province
Grand Final – 1st vs 2nd
Western Cape Magpies 10.8 (68) def. North West Dockers 4.3 (27)
Consolation Final – 3rd vs 4th
Kwa Zulu Natal Eagles 6.3. (39) def Gauteng Blues 4.7. (31)
1st Western Cape Magpies
2nd North West Dockers
3rd Kwa Zulu Natal Eagles
4th Gauteng Blues