Ravensmead stumble in the semis…

Ravensmead 'keeper Cameron Voster is sent the wrong way during the tense penalty shoot-out against Excelsior Secondary.

The side in maroon had a decent run in the competition and a lot was expected from them going to the semis.

However, things took a turn for the worse when the boys went down 4-2 in a tense penalty shootout against eventual winners, Belhar’s Excelsior Senior Secondary after playing to a goalless draw. The schools’ girls’ team also had their share of disappointment when they lost 1-0 to eventual champions Kasselsvlei Technical High School.

Both sides were particularly impressive throughout the competition and remained unbeaten enroute to the semi-final with the boys winning two and drawing two of four their matches ahead of the semis.

The girls were equally on the ball, winning two and playing to a draw in one of their three group matches leading up to Friday’s big encounter.

In the girls’ division, the northen suburbs side were slotted in Group G alongside Strand’s Nomzamo Secondary, Steenberg’s Sibelius and Cape Town Gardens Commercial high schools. They didn’t have any problems qualifying for the semis as they were convincing in the group stages, scoring five goals without conceding in their three matches. They had an ideal start to the competition, beating Nomzamo High 3-0 in their group opener. They went on to beat Sibelius 2-0 before drawing 0-0 with Gardens. That was enough to see them taking on Kasselsvlei in the semis.

Ravensmead’s SA under-20 international Jamie-Lee Witbooi, who had been in fine form throughout the competition, finally found her match in Zelda Fransman in that highly charged semi final clash.

Kasselsvlei team manager Egshaan Joshua said the girls had a long-time rivalry and football matches between Fransman’s UWC and Witbooi’s Spurs WFC are always intense. And, Fransman admitted she expected a tough battle on the day. “We know each other very well and I had to make sure I concentrated on the game not just on the player. I think we, as a team, were able to pull that off well,” she said.

She did, indeed, play well against the big and tough-tackling Witbooi, who even got cautioned by the referee for fouling Fransman a couple of times in the game.

Kasselslvei won that match 1-0 courtesy of a second half penalty, to book their spot in the final against Ocean View.

The Bellville South side made their intentions clear early on in the first half, taking the game to Ocean View, who seemed to struggle to cope with their opponents’ quick inter-passing game. But, to their credit, the defence stood their ground, despite the onslaught from the highly skilful Kasselsvlei front runners.

Centre forward Thulisile Xuza was particularly problematic for Ocean View as her trickery on the ball seemed to confuse their opponents. It was, however, Fransman who did all the “spade work” for the Bellville side as she ran the length of the field, attacking the opposition defence, creating things in the middle of the park and helping out at the back.

She was finally rewarded when she opened the scoring within the first 20 minutes of the match.

It was now all Kasselsvlei but Ocean View, led by their influential captain Nina Katnis, tried to launch attacks of their own, using mainly counter attacks. That proved to be an effective form of defending as the score was a respectable 1-0 going to the half time break. However, Kasselsvlei continued where they left on in the second half. This time their approach was more direct and they were now playing with more purpose.

Ocean view also seemed to struggle to cope with their opponents’ superior fitness levels.

With Fransman dictating things upfront, Kasselsvlei camped in their opposition half and were eventually rewarded with two second half goals to put the match beyond Ocean View’s reach. The 3-0 full time score was, in the end, a fair reflection of what went down on the field as the Ocean View side never really threatened their opponents.

Fransman said things were not as easy out there as the score-line may suggest. This, she said, was because Ocean View was able to put a lot of pressure on them, which meant they had to find creative ways going forward.

“To counter that we had to push as many numbers forward as possible and attack them as a team.

“That worked as they struggled to contain us in their half, especially in the second half,” she said.