13th August 13
The DLD Charity Cup finally kicked off after all the excitement and banter flying between team members, in Group A the Teachers team kicking off against overwhelming underdogs Ahmed’s team. This was a game of many chances yet surprisingly Ahmed’s team held out for a goalless draw putting both teams in a position of needing a win against tournament favourites in The Green Team.
Meanwhile in Group B the favourites to top the group SWED were pitched against a talented but underestimated James’ team. A tense and cagey game of few chances had the chance to be broken from the penalty spot. A good penalty by James Shirley however he was only denied by the fingertips of the keeper and the inside of the post. Yet Alen Fiks was on hand to put in the rebound handing SWED an opening game shock loss.
On both pitches vital group games kicked off with SWED conquers James’ team pitched themselves against the Master Debaters. James’ team put on a dominant display but lacked the cutting edge to make it count on the score line and some excellent goalkeeping by Kia. Both teams had to settle for the point. Tournament favourites The Green Team took to the pitch against a surprisingly resilient Ahmed’s team. After a cagey opening half the breakthrough came through a break finished off by Bryce F-Stone. The Green Team were rattled and unable to respond to the surprise strike and succumb to the gritty Ahmed’s team leaving them in a position of a must-win game to qualify for the next round.
Both groups had two shock group winners in Ahmed and James team leaving the reigning champions the teachers, Swed and The green team in severe danger of an early exit. Each responded in their own fashion. The Green Team had a nervy 1-0 win over the teachers side knocking the holders out with Zak Sanei getting the goal in a tense game for qualification. SWED entered the game with a vengeance and seem to take it all out on the Master Debaters with a resoundingly confident display in an 8-0 win, with goals coming from Tim A-Cole, Tinashe Dingwiza, Alex Cockeram and Gordon Teny. The heavy defeat brought the Master Debaters campaign for the cup to an end with a whimper, however this took away no joy away from them throughout the day in the spirit of the charity event.
The semi-final threw up some mouth-watering ties with The Green Team taking on James’ team and Swed squaring up against surprise package Ahmed’s team. The Green team made light work of a spirited James’ team with a straightforward 2-0 win with both goals coming from Eamon Aladay. In the second semi-final the surprise package were looking to pull off another upset but it seemed that was a step too far against a well drilled and efficient Swed who dominated and hit the net three times through Tim A-Cole and Tinashe Dingwiza without response from Ahmed’s team.
The race for top scorer and player of the tournament was heating up as Tim A-Cole took an almost unassailable lead in the goal scoring charts with 6 and his nearest challenger his own team-mate and talisman of Ahmed’s team Tinashe Dignwiza and Bryce F-Stone with 3 goals a piece.
The final threw the battle of The Green Team and SWED, both having good records and suffering shocks defeats in their opening group game, both teams showing attacking potency and defensive stability spelling for a compelling contest. The final got under way with a cagey start and SWED showed first signs of defensive vulnerability with The Green Team breaking their defence and only being prevented by a wonderful save by Gordon Teny. SWED continued to teeter in the half but showed some of their own attacking capabilities with breaks out lead by Tinashe Dingwiza but both teams was unable to break the deadlock. After the restart we saw a cagey second half with few clear cut opportunities due to both teams’ solid defensive displays. A Penalty shootout was looming and both teams tiring, it was evident where this final was heading. The final whistle blew at 0-0 and it was a penalty shootout. Zak Sanei stepped up for the Green Team’s first penalty but was thwarted by Gordon Teny. Tinashe Dingwiza emerged as the first taker for SWED however struck the inside of the post to the disbelief of almost everyone around him. The Green Team had their second penalty from Rory Cameron dispatched beautifully sending the keeper the wrong way, followed in similar fashion by Alex Cockeram. Eamon Aladay stepped up and like his teammate put away his penalty with ease, however it wasn’t the case for Tim A-Cole despite his exploits throughout the tournament he wasn’t able to put his team on level pegging. Rupert Nielson had the opportunity to put the tie out of SWED’s reach however failed, like Daniel Blik following him. It Came down to the goalkeepers and Gordon Teny took a poor penalty effectively handing it to the Green Team with Alfie securing the result with a carefully executed penalty.
The sunny day ended with all teams with their contributions to the exciting tournament in the spirit of the event. All congratulations to The Green Team in a great run to the trophy.