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Mpheni Defenders returned with empty hands from the ABC Motsepe Promotional play offs. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

Mpheni Defenders disappoint yet again in quest for ABC promotion

 

Mpheni Defenders were very confident about their chances of being promoted to the ABC Motsepe Foundation Championship League when they left for the playoffs, but they returned empty-handed. The annual event took place at the Mxolisi Dicky Jacobs Stadium in Upington, Northern Cape, last week. Defenders were placed in the same group as Jampela FC and FN Rangers.

The team from the Elim area started strongly, leading Jampela FC 2-0 at half time in their opening match on 18 June. Unfortunately, they succumbed to stage fright and allowed Jampela to come back and secure a 2-2 draw. Their promotion hopes were completely dashed when they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of FN Rangers the following day. Defenders, also known as 'Up the Bulls,' finished their playoff campaign at the bottom of their group.

When asked about the team’s downfall, Defender’s head coach, Mr Vhutshilo Phuravhathu, attributed their poor performance in the tournament to several factors. He noted that the players lacked composure in front of the goal, squandering numerous clear scoring opportunities in the crucial games.

Phuravhathu mentioned that his team had panicked towards the end of the first game and failed to convert chances, losing concentration against Jampela. 'As a consequence, we conceded two silly goals in the dying minutes,' he said. He added that similar mistakes were repeated in their second game against FN Rangers. According to him, the team’s morale could have been boosted if they had converted a penalty awarded in the opening minutes of that game. He emphasised that they had learned from this experience and now needed to return to the drawing board to plan for the upcoming season.

This was not the first time Defenders participated in the promotional playoff tournament. They represented Limpopo Province in the same event in Pietermaritzburg last year, where they failed to score a single goal.

 

 

Date:27 June 2024

By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

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