KwaZulu Natal have been crowned winners of the 2017 SAFA Inter-provincial Beach Football Championship on Saturday, 13 May 2017 in Richards Bay, KZN.
The hosts defeated the defending champions Mpumalanga 4-3 in a nail-biting final played in pouring rain that has swept throughout the province since Friday night.
The North West Province finished third after a 5-3 win in the 3rd/4th Place Play Off earlier in the day.
North West will be up against the Western Cape in the 3rd/4th Place Play Off.
According to the rules of the game, the knockout stage matches were to be played over three halves of 12 minutes each, but due to the wet conditions that made play unbearable, the teams agreed to reduce the duration to two halves of 15 minutes each.
The first match was an almost one-way affair as the North West held a tight grip on proceedings to win bronze.
The final was a closely-contested match even though the home side raced to a good lead before Mpumalanga staged a dramatic comeback scoring two quick goals. But it was too little too late as KZN had done enough to register victory.
“This was a great tournament where we saw some of the most talented players on display, but talent alone is not enough, we need to develop it and turn these players into stars. I hope the foundation we have laid this week will go a long way in establishing a regular competition so that some day we too can have a representative in the World Cup of Beach Football,” said Provincial Chairperson and SAFA NEC Member Velaphi Kubheka.
“The weather did not favour us on the final day but one could still see the talent in bad weather conditions. Be that as it may, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Association for entrusting us with the task of hosting this wonderful event and I believe we did well to request to host another one. Our greatest gratitude also goes to all the players and technical teams that took their time to take part in this tournament as you are the ones who really make it happen. Congratulations to the winners and better luck next time to those who did not make it.”
Despite the loss in the final, Mpumalanga will be satisfied with their effort as it also earned them two individual accolades.
Nhlanla Masina walked away with the Top Goalscorer Award with 12 goals, while Lucky Mashewula was named the Goalkeeper of the Tournament for his heroics that saw his side to the final.
KZN celebrating one of their goals in 4-3 win over Mpumalanga in the final of the 2017 @SAFA_net Beach Football Championship in Richards Bay pic.twitter.com/UQgal1Rj8k
— SAFA.net (@SAFA_net) May 13, 2017
Along with the gold medals, KZN also took the Player of the Tournament Award, which went to goalkeeper Lungisani Mbanjwa.
A total of 194 goals were scored in 16 matches – KZN the highest scorers with 29, followed by fellow finalists Mpumalanga on 24 and North West with 22 while the Western Cape grabbed just 16.
The lowest scoring team was Limpopo on seven, just two below the Eastern Cape who got nine while Gauteng and Free State managed 11 and 12 respectively – all four played three matches each and were eliminated in the group stages.
TOP GOALSCORER OF THE TOURNAMENT:
- NHLANHLA MASINA (MPUMALANGA – 12 GOALS)
GOALKEEPER OF THE TOURNAMENT:
- LUCKY MASHEWULA (MPUMALANGA)
PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT:
- LUNGISANI MBANJWA (KZN)
- KWAZULU NATAL
- NORTH WEST
- WESTERN CAPE
ALL THE RESULTS:
DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY, 10 MAY 2017
- NORTH WEST 3 – 5 EASTERN CAPE
- LIMPOPO 3 – 3 WESTERN CAPE
- GAUTENG 1 – 10 MPUMALANGA
- KZN 4 – 2 FREE-STATE
- EASTERN CAPE 3 – 5 GAUTENG
- WESTERN CAPE 2 – 4 KZN
- MPUMALANGA 3 – 3 NORTH WEST
- LIMPOPO 2 – 5 FREE-STATE
DAY 2 – THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017
- NORTH WEST 9 – 5 GAUTENG
- LIMPOPO 3 – 6 KZN
- EASTERN CAPE 1 – 3 MPUMALANGA
- WESTERN CAPE 6 – 5 FREE STATE
DAY 3 – FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2017
- KwaZulu Natal 11 – 2 North West
(WINNER GROUP B) (RUNNER-UP GROUP A)
- Mpumalanga 5 – 2 Western Cape
(WINNER GROUP A) (RUNNER-UP GROUP B)
DAY 4 – SATURDAY, 13 MAY 2017
3RD/4TH PLACE PLAY-OFF
- North West 5 – 3 Western Cape
- KwaZulu Natal 4 – 3 Mpumalanga