Bloemfonten Celtic (Free State) defeated JVW (Gauteng) 1-0 to be crowned 2016 Sasol League National Champions.
The battle took place at the D’Almeida Stadium in Mosselbaai, Western Cape on Sunday, 11 December.
This was a great improvement for the Free State side as they finished in 5th position in 2015.
On paper, JVW looked the stronger of the two as they had five players from the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana team – Yolula Tsawe, Amanda Dlamini, Janine van Wyk, Mamello Makhabane and Nompulelelo Nyandeni, while Celtic only had two – Shiwe Nogwanya and Bambanani Mbane.
With no goals at the break, it seemed the game was headed for the dreadful penalty shootout, but the Free State made sure they won at their first attempt in the final.
Emily Moholoholo scored the all-important goal in the 70th minute.
She beat Tsawe in the JVW goals and the defence tried to clear the ball but it had already crossed the line and the referee pointed to the centre.
There was jubilation from the Free State side, while dejection could be seen on the faces of the JVW players. Celtic held on to claim their first ever Sasol League National Championship title.
This was their ninth appearance in the tournament but the first time they made the final – and the celebrations clearly showed when the final whistle sounded.
“We didn’t want to let the sponsors Sasol down – we have been coming to this tournament but not winning anything. So we felt this was our time. I would like to congratulate my players on a job well done. They played very well and had great disclipline on the field. They showed they are a professional team – we came here on a mission and now it’s accomplished,” said a jubilant Celtic coach Edwin Lisene.
“There was too much wind today and I told the girls not to play the ball in the air but to knock it around and the plan worked. Now we can safely say we would like to come back and get to the final and win it again, but we need to go back and plan even better – but I am confident we will be back here and defend our title. For now it is celebration time.”
For JVW, regardless of the loss, they have still made great strides.
“I am extremely proud of my team they worked really hard the whole season, we didn’t really aim for this but it came unexpected to all of us. I take my hat off to them for the performance they gave, sadly it was not our day. I am delighted we not only made the National Championship, but are also finalists. We are second in the country and we can only grow from here on,” said captain Van Wyk.
“We have a young team, some of the players are 16 years and our oldest player is 36 – but we have one thing in common, which is football. I am proud of them – we came here to showcase our talent and that is exactly what we did, just a pity we did not get the troph, which we so wanted to win, but we are grateful for what we have achieved, I have no doubt that we will be back next year again more determined.”
Moholoholo was chosen as the Diski Queen of the Match.
Bloemfontein Celtic walked away with fifty-thousand rand (R50.000), while JVW pocketed thirty-five-thousand rand (R35.000).
Kanatla Ladies from Limpopo clinched third place after defeating Coal City Wizzards of Mpumalanga 4-2 on penalties following a 2-2 stalemate at the end of regulation time.
In the Individual accolades, Lesedi Matjila won the Top Goalscorer of the Tournament with eight goals, with Yolula Tsawe walking away with the Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Queen of Queen or Player of the Tournament award went to Mamello Makhabane, as well as the Player of the Tournament Award.
Celtic captain Boitumelo Rabale was named the Young Queen of the Tournament.