They’re taking it to the next level

Manenberg Ladies celebrate their win.

Manenberg and Heidelveld women’s teams excelled in this year’s South African Football Association (SAFA) Cape Town Women’s Regional League.

Manenberg Ladies won the Women’s Regional League with 82 points at the top, three points clear of second-placed Heideveld.

On the final day of league matches played at the Greens sports complex, Manenberg and Heideveld beat Real Brazilians and RV United by default.

Manenberg coach, Dawood Salie, said his side is positive ahead of their promotion play-offs scheduled for Saturday November 26, in George.

Winning teams from six districts will be split into two groups of three teams each.

“We’ll meet up with the winners from the Overberg, Winelands, Eden, Klein Karoo and Suid Karoo at the play-offs.

“We’ll play two round-robin matches and whoever tops the group is promoted to the Sasol League,” said Salie.

“We took a break last week and are back in full swing this week, training three times a week.

“We have the top two goalscorers in the league, and will go there to score goals and not play defensive,” he said.

Winger Chantel-Lee Carelse scored 43 goals for Manenberg this season; and her teammate, Faadieyah Simons, scored 32.

“This will be the first time a team from Manenberg has reached the women’s play-offs. And, if we do the job, we’ll be the first Manenberg team in the Women’s SASOL league,” said Salie.ww

Despite HBUFC’s loss, they remain positive on their five-year plan to reach the SAFA Women’s Sasol League.

Head coach, Jasmine Cornelius, 28, who stepped into the coaching hot seat at the start of the season, said their ploy to reach the Sasol League kicked into action last year, when the team got promoted to the Regional League.

Cornelius has played in both the Sasol and Regional Leagues respectively, but is out of action due to an injury she picked up last year. The winger said she needed to remain active in the game, and decided to use her experience to help her hometown club reach the top flight.

However, her maiden season with HBUFC never received the fairytale ending she had hoped for, and her side finished second last on the log.

“We had a well rounded team last season and finished 11th on the log. When I stepped in, my goal was to improve on that but football is an unpredictable game,” said Cornelius.

“We lost most of our attacking players at the start of the season which threw us off course. So, it was always going to be tough task for the team and we lost a lot of games.

“Midway through the season, we decided to stay competitive and not be relegated,” she said.

HBUFC accumulated 16 points this season, made up from five wins and a draw.

In their final game of the season against Goal Hunters – who finished their campaign in fifth position – HBUFC took the lead after Zandiswe Mkhaphira found the back of the net from the penalty spot.

Goal Hunters looked dominant for most of the opening half, but HBUFC defended well and hit them with quick counter attacks.

The offensive tactics of Goal Hunters proved too much for the HBUFC defence, and they leveled the score at 1-1 before the break and secured the win with two goals in the second half.

“The ladies were switched on during the first half and were playing nicely. But their heads dropped when Goal Hunters took the lead.

“After that second goal, everything just went downhill from there,” she said.

Cornelius is itching to get back onto the playing field herself, after spending the past season and a half on the sidelines.

When she’s not coaching the women at HBUFC then she teaches reading at Sentinel Primary School and is also involved in the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) programme.

“I played anywhere in attack for Spurs Ladies, in Wynberg,” said Cornelius. The injury happened during a game against Milano United. I remember it was the last couple of minutes in the game and we were leading. I was shielding the ball to let it run out by the line, and a player came in with a slide tackle from behind,

“I had to go for surgery nine weeks ago on my ligament and ACL,” she said.

In her early football playing days, Cornelius played for her school’s soccer team at Sentinel Primary and for Hout Bay High.

Now, the Sports Management graduate is on a mission to see HBUFC rise and compete among the best.

“We have a long way to go and it’s not going to be easy. Just looking at how we ended the season, we need to work a lot on our attacking game. Also, we need to play more for each other and work as a unit,” said Cornelius.

“This season was a rough, so I’ll need to go back to the drawing board and prepare for next year. We’ll take a short break for the holidays but we’ll be in action again because we playing in the CBD Futsal League,” she said.