The Jeppe 1st soccer team walked away with a share of the spoils at the St Stithians Easter Sports Festival when the final, against Waterstone College, was abandoned in the first half with no score on the board due to the weather.
The Easter festivals were badly disrupted by the weather, so it was remarkable that they even took to the field for the final. Jeppe won all their games over the weekend. They beat Alexandra High of Port Elizabeth 4-1, St Stithians 2-0 and Lebone 6-0 in their pool games, which put them in the semifinals where they met Benoni High.
The game ended in a goaless draw and Jeppe won the penalty shoot-out 4-3 to advance to the final against Waterstone, who had eliminated the hosts in the other semi. The lighting put and end to that, but Jeppe did end this half of the season on a winning note, having taken the title at the Waterstone tournament the week before.
There is no more competition for the team now until the June holidays when the will be going to the Kloof festival in Durban. For him, that’s a good thing says the team captain, Lwazi Mcineka. “It will give me the opportunity to concentrate on my school work,” he said. “I’m in matric and I’m aiming for four distinctions at the end of the year, so giving sport a break for a while will be good for me.”
Not that all soccer activity will stop completely. “We will have a few low-intensity practices and we have been given gym programmes so that everyone stays in shape. Mr Kollenbeck-Ruh and I will be looking at the best days to slot the practices in as some of the players are involved with rugby or hockey,” Lwazi said.
He gives a lot of credit for the team’s success to Mr Ruh. “He was obviously a very good players and he amazes us with his skills when he kicks the ball around at practice,” He said. “The main thing is that he has an overall idea of how he wants us to play and he is able to get his ideas across in a way that everyone understands.”
Lwazi has been in the first team since he was in grade 9 and has played club soccer all along as well, until this year. “I’m concentrating on my academics now, and on playing for Jeppe, I think this team has the potential to do very well and I am looking forward to getting back in action later in the year.”