By: CHRIS TOTOBELA
On Saturday 14 April, JD Dlepu played host to some exciting Makana LFA and SAB regional league fixtures. LFA log leaders City Pirates clashed with Santos early in the day, battling hard for a 1-1 draw. The main game of the day saw Eleven Attackers hosting Maru in front of a capacity crowd in their SAB league derby game.
Both teams started at a blistering pace competing for each and every ball. It was Maru who looked very dangerous on the ball and controlled the game. Maru got the first clear chance of the game but the striker’s shot flew narrowly over the crossbar. Attackers kept a good shape and slowly fought their way back into the game, creating chances of their own. Hard tackles flew all over the pitch, which is typical of a derby game of this nature. Unako Maneli nearly received his marching orders when he retaliated after a bad tackle from a Maru player but just got away with a caution. After an intense first half, the referee blew the whistle for the end of the first half, with neither team able to get on the scoreboard.
Both teams came out firing in the second half and took the game to another level dishing out some great football. Attackers were finally rewarded for their efforts after a good move from midfield was crowned by a perfect through pass to the brutal Siyathemba “Stone” Melitafa. Melitafa ended up one on one with the goalkeeper and he calmly slotted the ball in the far corner to give his team the lead with only twenty minutes left. Despite this, Maru kept pushing for the equaliser, however they were left disappointed and empty handed. The final score read 1-0 to Eleven Attackers after an exciting derby.
Melitafa expressed his excitement after the game and said, “I am very happy to score the winning goal and would like to thank my team for having faith in me as I could not train this week due to the flu. I think this was long overdue and special thanks to our fans for coming to support us”.
Afike Adam, Attackers team manager, said after the game, “[this was]a great game of football which has shown the local talent. This was a historical game as it finished without any red cards or fighting as is always the case when these two sides meet. I would like to thank the people of Joza who always pack this field while creating a great atmosphere for the players”.
Maru’s caretaker coach, Tanduxolo Matebese, expressed his disappointment. “It was a tough game, we were good on build ups but lacked the finishing and Attackers took their chance. I really feel for my boys because losing three games in a row is hard but we have to go back to training and work hard.”
After his man of the match winning performance, Unako Maneli said, “our encounters with Maru are always tough but we capitalised on their weaknesses. I always train hard and I respect the game a lot as I would like to become a professional footballer one day”.
JD Dlepu saw more action on Sunday when Newtown City beat Future stars by 3-1 in the Makana LFA league game. In the second game Sakhulutsha hosted Manchester from Alexandria in their SAB regional league game but unfortunately lost the game 0-2.