The first major Sunday clash in the Premier Division is set to take place this weekend as Wynberg st Johns host Saxon Rovers in what is sure to be an absolute humdinger. Both teams won their first two games convincingly, having scored in excess of a combined 24 goals already while the hosts have yet to concede.
The lads from Wynberg, coached by former Saxon Rovers player Heinrich Gradwell, face off against their fierce rivals for the first time ever on a Sunday afternoon.
Gradwell, who donned the black and white kit in 2006, was instrumental in the club’s promotion from First Division in his first year at the club. His stint, overseen by club veteran chairman Allan Roman, lasted until he departed in 2008.
“I’ve experienced the culture [at Rovers],” the former player-turned-coach said. “There will be no love lost but we’ll be competitive, that’s for sure.”
Wynberg had a difficult season in 2019, almost finding themselves relegated to First Division, while at the other end of the table Rovers experienced one of their best, winning the top-tier division convincingly but failing at the play-offs a few weeks after. With his heart at Wynberg, Gradwell was recalled to the first team coaching gig with eight games to go before the season finale – and just seven points deep in the relegation zone.
“2019 was a tough year for Wynberg,” Gradwell told the CTTLFA website. “We had a relegation battle and found ourselves up against a top Saxon Rovers squad.
“Our squad stepped up and won a good battle on the field and survived relegation. We’ve made some adjustments to our squad in 2021 and we’re set for another good encounter on Sunday.”
With the ABC Motsepe League and Regional Third Division allowing clubs to choose whether or not to participate, the door has opened to a number of experienced players who’ll find themselves on the pitch this weekend.
Over at Royal Road, Roman strengthened his squad too with several new signings as they look to hold onto their title and take the bragging rights at the end of a busy season but he and his team of coaches and managers have thus far been tight lipped about their squad. It’s likely that former Steenberg United, Mamelodi Sundowns and FN Rangers left-footer, Giovanni Philander, will feature for Rovers. Ashley Nel returns from Cape Town City while Marci and Dallas, Roman confirmed, won’t make to trip to Wynberg for personal reasons.
Gradwell, however, held back no punches when revealing his title-chargers for the upcoming fixture.
Former NFD star, Matthew Arendse, is one of the big names on the St Johns team sheet this weekend. His name will likely be written up first alongside former Steenberg United NFD player, Chad Robertson. The likes of Wade Crowie and the team’s captain Lance Niewenhuis will also likely be rested on Saturday so as to ensure they’re fresh for Sunday. Richard Webber is poised to get the nod in the starting line-up with former Rygersdal player Shamiel Philander also in the mix.
Over at Royal Road, Roman has strengthened his squad too with several new signings as they look to hold onto their title and take the bragging rights at the end of a busy season.
But before the enigmatic Rovers team tackle their Sunday fixture and tricky trip to Wynberg, they’ll need to first overcome Vasco da Gama while Bellville City also make the trip down the N1 to face-off at Wynberg.