The Nedbank Ke Yona Team slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Nedbank Cup back-to-back champions SuperSport United in an exciting clash at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Sunday.
History was made on the day when Zanoxolo Mduli netted the first ever goal for the Ke Yona Team late on, but it proved to not be enough despite their brave display at the Makhulong stadium.
The Ke Yona players put on an excellent display of football throughout the match and there will certainly be a handful of coaches around the country who have been impressed by their technique and skill as the players prepare for a month long trial with the 16 Premier Soccer League clubs.
2014 Ke Yona Team graduate, Maphosa Modiba reached a milestone as he captained SuperSport United for the first time and was among their goal scorers, he also became the first Ke Yona player to net against his former team. It also became a family affair for the Modibas the moment Maphosa Modiba’s cousin Justin Modiba came on for the Ke Yona Team.
Bafana Bafana winger Thuso Phala scored the opener in the 36th minute for SuperSport with a fine finish as Matsatsantsa led 2-0 at the
break. Modiba grabbed the second from a Siyabonga Nhlapo cross, perfectly solidying Matsatsantsa’s win.
The Ke Yona Team was unlucky not to score just past the hour-mark when forward Makhosandile Plaatjie struck the crossbar with a superb volley. The Ke Yona Team had to wait till the 90th minute to grab a late consolation goal through Mduli, which also marks the first ever open-play goal in the Challenge’s 5-year history.
Owen da Gama, one of the four coaches of the Ke Yona Team along with Ephraim Mashaba, Mike Mangena and Khabo Zondo, expressed their delight with the team’s fine performance which was rewarded with the first ever goal.
“We have always believed in these boys, we knew they could do it. We hit the crossbar earlier on and had a couple of other chances,” Da Gama said “To bring the team together in a few months and to play against the Nedbank Cup champions is not easy, but we are so proud of the boys. We finally got that goal, we were all excited and this is testament to the hard work put in by the coaches and players, and the support we got from Nedbank.”
“It has been fantastic to work with the team, such a pleasure to see boys coming in and not knowing what structure we have, learning the ropes and what is required of them in such a short space of time. The goal has been to prepare them for the PSL teams, although it takes a year or two to fully mould someone into a PSL player, but give these boys a chance!”.
SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler was impressed with the Ke Yona Team, “It was a fantastic crowd and that motivated the boys from Ke Yona, second half they were a lot better and they came out and created a few chances,” Tinkler said.
“Great for Aubrey [Modiba] that he captained the side and also got a goal, as well as playing against his cousin!”
The Ke Yona Team also suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat to Kaizer Chiefs after a 0-0 draw in 2013, 2-0 losses to Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns (2014 & 2015), and a 1-0 defeat to SuperSport United last year.
Nedbank’s Sponsorship for football properties Mr Tutu Skosana expressed his contentment with the crowd attendance at the Makhulong stadium, “ The Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge has always served as a befitting conclusion to a campaign that has travelled all over the country in search of the best talent on offer. With every community which we have been to, we have received so much love and support, today was no different as the people of Tembisa came out in their numbers to support this initiative which has changed the lives of many young men like Thabang Ximba who was born and raised in Tembisa. We would like to thank all our Nedbank clients for banking with us and assisting us to see money differently through this exciting initiative.”