GROOT AUB, 05 NOV – Dates Eleven from the ||Kharas Region won the annual Queensab Soccer Bonanza tournament played over the weekend in Groot Aub after defeating tournament favourites Dolam Pirates on post-match penalties with the game ending 1-all.
The match started like a house on fire and Dates caught the Dolam Pirates rear guard napping after beating an offside trap to score their opener within five minutes after kick-off through Plane Plaatjies.
The two teams went toe-to-toe with pocket-sized Balu Christiaans having the midfield and backline of Pirates on sixes and sevens with his silky skills to create scoring chances for his teammates.
Pirates did not allow Dates to run riot in midfield and former Orlando Pirates and Tigers player, Image Isaacks took the game on the scruff of its neck and caused problems for the Dates defence with his brilliant passing game.
In the 15th minute, a through pass from Isaacks found Chestley Stanley in a promising position but he was pulled down by a defender of Dates, then dusted him off and scored a brilliant free-kick over the wall and past the outstretched hands of Innocent Lambert to level matters.
The two teams went into the second half with the score tied 1-all.
Dates upped the tempo in the second half looking for their second goal, but veteran player Ettiezen Tsuseb used his vast experience to defuse the threats from the marauding Christiaans and Quera van Staden.
Dates had a great goal scoring chance midway through the second half, but Serero Rooi took too long and the threat was neutralised.
The inevitable moment of penalties arrived after the second half’s 30 minutes of play and the two teams showed nerves of steel to convert their mandatory five penalties each.
The shoot-out became a marathon affair with both sets of players being clinical in converting their spot-kicks.
In the end, Dates converted their sudden death penalty and Pirates cracked with Dates Eleven winning 13-12 on penalties.
Dates coach, Andries Wimmerth said they had only one thing on their mind when they took the 500 kilometres journey and that was to win the tournament.
“We came for one thing and we achieved it by winning the tournament. We decided that we will play in different regions to make the players accustomed to different playing styles in the country that will be beneficial to them and the team as well,” Wimmerth said.
Dates Eleven received N$15 000, a trophy and 20 gold medals, while Pirates received N$10 000 and 20 silver medals.
Stones who lost against Pirates 3-2 in the semi-final and Deon Eleven who were defeated 7-6 on penalties by Dates walked away with N$2 500 each.