Zizwe United Edge Clarewood as ABC Motsepe League Heats UP
Joshua Hendricks, 6 December 2021
It was a mouth-watering encounter involving two teams going into the fixture with unbeaten records when new kids on the block Clarewood JPM hosted experienced Zizwe United at the weekend.
Zizwe, the former ABC Motsepe League Western Cape champions, held their nerves and served an enticing clash to emerge with a hard-fought 1-0 victory that keeps them in the summit of the league’s Stream A on 12 points – three points away from Ubuntu CT FC while Clarewood dropped to third on six points, albeit with a game in hand.
The game at the iconic William Herbert Sports Complex in Wynberg on Saturday afternoon started in windy conditions which had a slight influence on the game but did not hinder either side. From the onset Zizwe commanded control of the game as there was a hint of nervousness on the Clarewood side in the early stages. But as soon as that faded away, momentum shifted towards the home team, who wanted to stamp their authority on their home turf.
Below are a few crucial moments which contributed to define the winner:
- Playing behind the wind, Clarewood chose long balls but found it hard to control the weight of the ball when linking up play. And they did not take the early chances they created and that had a great effect on the narrative of the game.
- Zizwe used the conditions to their benefit by playing shorter against the wind as well as playing closer to each other to eliminate mistakes and interceptions. And their three key substitutions in the second half played a big role in the dynamics of their combination.
- The moments when Zizwe kept dragging Mario Booysen out of position in the central defence of Clarewood which gave them space behind, forcing the home side to commit silly fouls.
- Frustration creeped in within the Clarewood camp and it led to them conceding free kicks that gifted Zizwe opportunities in the final third.
- The crowning moment was helped by the wind when Messi (Tebogo Moleta) curled a corner straight into the net with his gifted left foot. A complete beauty that ultimately swayed the game towards the visitors. Some would call it a freak goal.
Both coaches shared similar sentiments with regards to their assessment of the game.
Julius Dube, Zizwe United Coach, said: “We wanted to get maximum points or even a single point because we knew we were playing against a well-organized team with a lot of former professional players. We got two chances of which one we should have scored. The wind played a big role in our plan.
“The game was well balanced until the last 20 minutes where we pushed and ended up getting a goal from the corner. They are a high scoring team and we knew it wouldn’t have been easy. We worked for our luck and we created that luck. It was a good result for us and we just need to keep on fighting for more points in the upcoming games.”
Ashraf Calvert, Clarewood JPM Coach, noted: “Zizwe deserved it and came out with fire and hunger in the second half. They wanted it more and credit to them. With the corner goal, a bit of luck always favours those who want it more.
“Injuries and subs didn’t go our way. We made a sub half time and then five minutes into the second half. That sub got injured due to a pothole. Luck wasn’t on our side. The other substitutions were made to protect players who were on yellow cards. Zizwe were more organized and when you are a goal down against such a side it hits you mentally, and we didn’t have that character today.”
The ABC Motsepe League Western Cape is heating up and dishing out performances worth watching while giving local football a much-needed lift in terms of the quality and competitiveness. These three valuable points keep Zizwe United in pole position in Stream A, while Clarewood JPM got their first taste of a defeat which dropped them to third position.