Mondale dig deep to uphold soccer legacy

Lack of regular schools’ league affecting performance on and off the pitch, says coach

Mondale captain, Suhail Galant, right, and Bergvliet striker Gianni Almano tussle for possession during their sides’ Kay Motsepe regional finals, at the Elsbury Park sports ground, in Matroosfontein, last Friday. Picture: Fuad Esack


A lack of game time, training and playing together as a unit, saw Mondale struggle to overcome a determined Bergvliet 3-1 in their under-19 boys’ Kay Motsepe Cape regional finals, at the Elsbury Park sports ground, in Matroosfontein, last Friday.

Mondale had to dig deep to secure their place in the Western Cape play-offs of the lucrative schools’ competition and will now join their counterparts from Eden, Central-Karoo, Cape Winelands, Overberg and West Coast districts in the play-off, which is scheduled to be held in Saldanha Bay at the end of the month.

En route to last Friday’s finals, Mondale won all their matches without conceding a single goal in six matches, beating all of their rivals, including defending champions Portland High, 2-0, to set up their clash against Bergvliet.

Mondale and SA under-20 player, Siviwe Nkwahli, dominantes in the air during his side’s clash against Bergvliet. Nkwahli’s brace in the second half, along with one by Matthew Du Plessis, helped his side secure a 3-1 win. Picture: Fuad Esack

However, coach Valhatiem “Val” Raynard’s side can consider themselves lucky going into the break with the score goalless as Bergvliet had complete control up until that point.

Mondale coach Val Raynard keeps a close eye on the action during his side’s match against Bergvliet. Picture: Fuad Esack

“We knew coming into Friday’s match that Bergvliet was a very strong team team with a very strong set-up. We just had to counter what they had,” Raynard said. “I instructed boys to just stay calm and to break up their play as much as possible.”

Mondale’s Daniel Arendse, left, under pressure from Bergvliet’s Dylan Lewis. Picture: Fuad Esack

The players, it seems, paid heed to the coach’s advice as a revitalised Mondale bounced back in the second half, thanks to a goal by Matthew du Plessis and a brace by Siviwe Nkwahli.

Bergvliet’s Gianni Almano pulled one back to make the score 2-1, but Nkwahli’s second strike sealed the deal for Mondale.

Mondale’s opening goalscorer Matthew du Plessis, left, and Bergvliet’s Ashraf van der Schyff challenge for the ball during their side’s Kay Motsepe regional cup final clash. Picture: Fuad Esack

There is no doubt that the demise of the Mitchell’s Plain (Mr Price) high schools soccer league has had a detrimental effect on school boy footy in Mitchell’s Plain.

Over the years, Mondale had impressed in both the Kay Motsepe Cup and the schools’ league.

Mondale’s Matthew du Plessis and Bergvliet centre back Zinzan Pieterse, battle for supremacy during last Friday’s cup final at Elsbury Park. Picture: Fuad Esack

Raynard had a few choice words at half-time, reminding his players that they had a legacy to live up to, having won this competition four times previously and going on to represent the Western Cape at the national finals on two occasions, going down to SuperSport Academy in the semi-finals and finishing third in 2013.

Bergvliet’s Malakhi Marney and Mondale’s Diego Jacobs give it their all during last Friday’s Kay Motsepe regional finals. The encounter was a classic tale of two halves – with Bergvliet dominating the first and Mondale coming back strongly in the second half. Picture: Fuad Esack

However, the Mondale mentor was first to admit that reaching the heights of their former glory years was a tall order, mainly due to the lack of regular competition.

“The first time this team got together was when we prepared for this competition,” says Raynard. “We didn’t play any kind of football or even train together before this tournament, and that is what makes this achievement so special.

Mondale’s two-goal hero, Siviwe Nkwali, centre, an SA under-20 payer, and team mates David Wood, left, and Theodore Jantjies celebrate their side’s 3-1 win against Bergvliet. Picture: Fuad Esack

“On top of that, we only conceded one goal in the entire competition. That’s as a great an achievement as winning the tournament,” he said

“In the past we had regular competition when the Mr Price Schools League was up and running. While I don’t wish to enter into the fray of what has transpired with the scrapping of the league, one just needs to ask what league or competition has been put in its place,” he said.

Mondale High’s under-19s in celebratory mood following their 3-1 victory against Bervliet in last Friday’s Kay Motsepe regional cup final. Picture: Fuad Esack

“The truth of the matter is straightforward. The boys have found alternatives to do on a Saturday morning. We as educators used the schools’ league as a way of further installing pride in our learners to represent the school.

“But for now, we are relishing in the moment and with this victory as motivation I’m sure we will do well in the Western Cape play-offs,” he said.

Happy squad, happy coach. Mondale mentor Val Raynard and his charges celebrate victory. Picture: Fuad Esack
Mondale’s under-19 side receive the winner’s trophy from Northern Suburbs LFA president Martin Julie, left, and ward councillor Charles Esau following their 3-1 win against Bergvliet. Picture: Fuad Esack