GEORGE FOOTBALL NEWS - The six-year-old team Raul Stars are the new champions of the George Local Football Association (Geolfa) League. They defeated Young Killers FC 2-1 in their last deciding league game on Sunday afternoon, 13 June at Thembalethu Stadium.
The goals were scored by Lilitha Jantjies and Lethu Stritch for Raul Stars and Endinalo Manyangaza for Young Killers. During their winning campaign Raul Stars were undefeated, playing 15 games with eleven victories and four draws, conceding only six goals.
Boasting the best defending record, they scored 33 goals and claimed the Geolfa League title with 37 points.
The game started at a fast pace with both teams showing sharpness on the ball. Raul Stars won the first free kick on the right side of the field, but their dangerous ball was well defended by Young Killers' Gcobani Mbulawa.
Sanele Nohesi of Young Killers tried his luck with a long-range shot from the centre of the field but his strike went over the bar, allowing a goal kick for Raul Stars. Lilitha Jantjies of Raul Stars succeeded in breaking through Killers' defence with a long pass, but this was also cleared away by a Killers defender.
Both sides were playing enterprising football with Killers using their physical strength against the youthful Raul Stars players.
The young players pressed back and exposed Killers' defenders, playing short passes on the go. Stars received a corner kick after a Killers defender put the ball behind, but Stars failed to open their account.
Young Killers were awarded a free kick outside the box, but missed the target when their ball went wide. Stars' striker Lilitha Jantjies netted the first goal of the game to make it 1-0 after a beautiful cross played in from the left side of the field, beating Young Killers goalkeeper Philile Laqwesha.
Young Killers tried to launch a strong counter-attack from the centre of the field but their attempt went wide. With a first goal in the bag, Stars attacked with confidence, forcing Young Killers' back line to panic.
Raul Stars skipper Lethu Stritch scored a world-class goal to make it 2-0, outsmarting the Young Killers goalkeeper with a long-range shot outside the box. Young Killers players were chasing the game with a strong attack, looking for their first goal.
They earned a penalty after a vicious tackle by a Raul Stars player and Endinalo Manyangaza scored to make it 2-1. Both teams missed their clear-cut chances during the last fifteen minutes. The exciting first half ended 2-1 with Raul Stars in the lead.
The second half started on fire with Raul Stars hunting for more goals. Stars' Zukhanye Mkhefe delivered a powerful shot from a set piece just outside the box but his shot was well saved by the Young Killers goalkeeper. Young Killers tried their best to equalise, but Raul Stars' solid defence was up for the challenge, defeating the attack from the Young Killers wingers.
Xolisa Yake of Raul Stars kept the Killers defenders busy during the second half, using his speed to penetrate through the opposition's back line. However, he missed the target with his powerful header going over the goal.
Both teams missed clear-cut chances during the rest of the game. A shot by Stars' Lilitha Jantjies went over the goal and another by their centre mid, Zusakhe Bishini, was wide. Strong attacks by Young Killers were also cleared away by Raul Stars defenders. When the whistle blew for the full 90 minutes the score was 2-1.
Commenting after the beautiful game, Raul Stars head coach, Nyameko Ntshingwa, said that his lads were under extreme pressure for the first time in the league series because, "as a team, we wanted more than them". Nyameko said he knew that the giants Young Killers would use their physical strength against his young players. He had told his team that playing against Young Killers is not an easy task, but they mustn't panic. They had to keep on attacking and Young Killers would lose focus.
"Our plan to break them by using speed and do the basics correctly worked very well for the team," he told George Herald.
Nyameko also urged the parents to support their kids in order to achieve positive results.
Raul Stars will represent George in LFA's playoffs for the Safa Eden Regional Mens League on 24 and 25 July in Plettenberg Bay.
WEEKEND RESULTS: DOMESTIC LEAGUE
- Ramaphosa 2-2 Bangalore
- Vista 2-0 Fast Eleven
- Heaven Stars 3-0 Thembalethu Brothers
- NMU 9-2 Young Brothers
- Abahlali 3-2 Celtics
- Black Cats 5-1 Paris United
- Thembalethu Brothers 0-1 Young Killers
- All Stars 7-2 Young Brothers
- Thembalethu Brothers 4-2 Celtics
- All Stars 2-0 NMU
- Paris United 2-0 Young Masters
- Bangalore 1-0 Vista
- Raul Stars 2-1 Young Killers
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