Mamelodi Sundowns are the 2013 SASOL National championships winners after overcoming a determined Limpopo-based Ma-Indies 2-0 in a hard-fought final played at Matlosana in Klerksdorp on Sunday, 1 December 2013.
It took a 58th-minute penalty by former 800 track and field world champion, Maria Mutola, to break the deadlock before Alocha Thobekela scored in the referee’s optional time, to ensure Downs are new champions.
In a match played in drizzling rain and driving wind, Downs missed a first half penalty but were worthy winners of this year’s tournament, which produced great and entertaining football in which some wonderful goals were scored.
The goalless first half saw a few scoring chances and apart from the missed penalty, was a well-balanced affair.
Downs looked more determined in the second half, and when Mutola was brought down in the box and converted from the spot, the writing was on the wall for the Limpopo side which, to their credit, never stopped attacking and trying to unlock the new champions’ defence.
The Limpopo side were then duly punished deep inside injury time when, in a desperate effort to find the equaliser, pushed players upfront in numbers. Thobekela took a long range shot which eluded everyone as the Pretoria side erupted into wild celebrations.
Despite falling on the final hurdle, Ma-Indies in which inspirational Banyana Banyana striker Noko Motlou was outstanding, will take a lot of pride at the way they played.
The final was attended by SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan, his deputy Lucas Nhlapo, SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble and NEC member Gerald Don.
In the third place play offs, Bloemfontein Celtic defeated Cape Town Roses 2-0 to claim the Sasol League National Championship bronze medal.
In an award ceremony held after the final, several individuals where recognised for their sterling work during the tournament.
Award Winners at the 2013 SASOL League National Championships: Referee of the Tournament – Sebabatso Malope Coach of the Tournament – Rhulani Mathebula (Ma-Indies) Goalkeeper of the Tournament – Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns) Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament – Noko Matlou (Ma-Indies) Player of the tournament – Busisiwe Ndimeni (Mamelodi Sundowns)
(With editing by gsport)