Hout Bay crowned Regional Women’s League Champions

Joy and pain… Hout Bay UFC celebrating victory as a visibly disappointed Kyra Fester walks away.

Safa Cape Town’s Regional Women’s League came to a dramatic finish when Hout Bay United FC were crowned champions, beating Mitchell’s Plain’s Hotspurs Ladies FC, 3-0 in a thrilling final at Gugulethu’s NY49 sports complex, on Saturday.

Midfield maestro Serenity Warner drew first blood, finding the back of the net off a well-taken free kick. Captain Jennifer Warner led the attack upfront, slotting home a brace in the second half. Hout Bay will now fly the flag for the city in the provincial play-off for a spot in the Sasol league.

It was always going to be a tough task for the plucky Spurs, who had been top of the log in their section of the two-stream competition. Despite dropping points due to having their matches called off as a result of the ongoing Covid crisis, the young Spurs side clawed their way back to the top of the log in the run up to Saturday’s final match. They had every reason to believe they had what it takes to take the trophy as they had won four games on the trot before Saturday’s encounter with the equally motivated Hout Bay, who had been dominating their section of the competition all season.

Spurs coach Yaasien Solomons was first to congratulate their opponents, saying, “All in all, Hout Bay wanted it more and are well deserved winners. They came with a clear plan of attack and executed it perfectly.

“It was a tough day at the office on Saturday. Our players were all excited when we had the captain’s run on Friday afternoon.

“We won the toss and decided to play against the wind in the first half, to allow our attack to play the second half with the wind behind our backs.

However, Hout Bay had other plans, coming at Spurs from the first whistle.”Our opponents were very physical and attacked us with full pace. In the first 10 minutes we struggled to get out of our own half and probably conceded 3-4corners and 4-5 dangerous free kicks outside of the box. They actually scored from one of these free kicks,” he said.

After the opening goal, Solomon’s side goal, settled and started to play a bit, stitching together a few passes but Hout Bay disrupted their flow with what Solomons called “real tough, but fair tackles”.

“Those are the tackles expected in a final and we felt we were still in the game at half time despite trailing 1-0. But after the second goal was scored when we failed to clear the ball at the back, I could see some of our players’ body language dropping.

“The few opportunities we had, our players were too rushed and either hit straight to the keeper, who looks to have a pair of solid hands in goal, or we hit the crossbar,” he said..

“Now it’s back to the drawing board and our planning for the new season has begun. We will use the feeling of losing in the final as motivation to succeed next season. We still feel our first season in the RWL was a huge success and many lessons have been learnt. Now our focus shifts to Coke Cup and Engen Cup,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hout Bay could smell the victory, playing with more urgency in the second half. “We went to the final with a game plan, ” said coach Dali Fekenisi.

“We knew they have few strong players, they like to play from the back. They get frustrated when things don’t go according to their plan.”

“Our plan was to press them high, win the ball on the last third and capitalise on their mistakes. That worked out perfectly. The first goal came as a result of our press and a foul was committed, we got a free kick and scored a goal.

“We knew that when we close channels they will not be able to get the ball to their key players. That is what frustrated them the most. They could not play their normal game. We took the game to them from the first whistle and forced them to play our game. We were always first on the ball,” Fekenisi said.

“We told our wing backs to be disciplined, when they attack they need to track back and not allow them any space behind them. I am very happy with the results and the way we executed our game plan, it worked out the way we planned,” he said.

Hotspurs Nekeshia Meyer tries to slip past Hout Bay’s Zandile Mkhaphuza.
Hout Bay’s Serenity Warner and Anelisa Macala can barely conceal their delight, following Saturday’s RWL final play-off match against Hotspurs.
Hotspurs Nekeshia Meyer tries to slip past Hout bay’s Zandile Mkhaphuza
Hout bay captain Jennifer Martin executes a cheeky back heel under pressure from Isoby-Ray Ismail during their sides’ Regional Women’s League final, in Gugulethu, on Saturday.