Saxon Rovers will represent CTTLFA in the SAFA Cape Town Regional Third Division playoffs after beating Rygersdal FC in a final and decisive league game to retain the Premier League title they won in 2019.
With no football taking place in 2020, Saxon Rovers made sure the trophy stayed at Royal Road when the league decider came down to the final game of the season as they stormed to a 3-2 win against their rivals.
“Retaining the league title was so much sweeter having our two life members Donovan Simpson and Rev. Charles Blous to share in the days celebrations,” Roman said when asked for comment.
It was a hotly contested game in which Rygersdal needed to win by a clear four goals to send the trophy back to Rondebosch. A mid-week 5-4 loss to Hanover Park dented their title hopes and turned the Rovers/Rygers fixture into a must win, but with an inferior goal difference after just seven games [due to a shortened season], it was always going to be a difficult ask.
Saxon Rovers Head Coach, Bradley Valentine explains it was a tough year: “We had to keep the boys focussed, winning the league in 2019 was a massive achievement but defending to retain it was the main objective for 2021.
“The challenges Covid presented and the stop start season demanded players to be committed, focused and disciplined. The team was blessed with high quality players and strong leaders.”
Valentine concluded: “In this regard I must pay tribute to the team captain, and Marci, who led the team exceptionally well.”
And while Rovers will now represent the LFA in the Regional Third Division playoffs – which look set to be held at their home venue in Royal Road – it’s not all hunky dory back at the Rovers clubhouse and you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s a bit of tension in the Maitland air.
Although the club seem intent on vying for a spot in the Region’s higher league, they’ll have to go for glory without their captain and a few other key players who have left the club and joined newly formed ABC Motsepe franchise, Clarewood FC.
“It’s absolutely mind boggling,” Roman explained. “We worked so hard for this moment and to leave while the club now has a chance to make history for itself is heartbreaking.
“We may be frustrated but we are a unit and I believe the rest of our squad will stand up to the challenge and do this incredible club proud – regardless of the outcome at the playoffs. We are still positive, we are going with a mandate to gain promotion and we are going with all the confidence in the world as CTTLFA league champions.”
Roman’s chargers will be grateful that this season’s playoffs might see a number of LFAs excluded as they opted not to return to football for the 2021 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but one thing is for sure – the playoffs are never a walk in the park and you underestimate your opponents and the playing conditions at your own peril.
The playoffs kick off on Saturday 23 October 2021 with the group stages below.