By Tshilidzi Mutavhatsindi
After last year’s chaotic Internal Soccer League where the Oakdene players attacked the referee in the finals, this year’s Rhodes Internal League definitely showed new promise, displaying excitement and extreme competitiveness. The Rhodes Internal Soccer League is currently run by the Sports Administration, after last year’s sponsor, Rhodes Music Radio (RMR) pulled out. “RMR pulled out as sponsor due to lack of manpower and resources to focus on the Internal League,” said RMR station manager, Gugulethu Mhlungu.
“This year’s preparation for the league was a little straining,” said Sports Admin assistant manager, Mandla Gagayi. “The league was delayed owing to Prospect Field, which is used for Internal League matches, being dug for technological upgrades,” he continued. The league got off to an exciting start on Monday, 4 May, with a close match between Jan Smuts and Goldfields. Smuts had a thrilling encounter, winning the match 3-2. Wednesday night saw Team Oppie to a 3-0 victory against Cullen Bowles at the King’s Field. “This is our season and we are taking this cup,” said Team Oppie captain, Lonwabo Fayo, after winning the first league match of this year’s Internal League.
On Friday, 8 May, the defending champions, Raw Materials, were put to a challenge against the new challengers, Team Linguistics, from the School of Languages. The match was 30 seconds old when Linguistics gave Raw Materials a ‘tip toes’ fright as they scored the first goal of the match. For the first few minutes of the match, it seemed that Team Linguistics were the stronger side, but they were soon dominated by the more experienced team. Raw Materials, known for their stylish play, came back by scoring four goals before halftime. With the crowd cheering and screaming, Raw Materials not only came back from second half with more goals but with more ‘shibobos’ as well.
The match was one-sided through the whole of the second half, but the ‘Language boys’ responded with a counter attack scoring themselves a second goal. Raw Materials increased their tally by three goals, winning the match 7-2. “I was not happy with the way the boys played, we could have scored more goals, but we will work on that,” said Raw Materials captain, Siqamo Laphu.
“There is no walk over in this year’s league; all the teams are out on a mission,” said Gagayi. Black Gold, who defeated Allen Webb 4-0, are currently on top of the log in Pool B, followed by Team Oppie with one goal difference. Defending champions, Raw Materials, are sitting comfortably at the top of the log in Pool A after their thrilling win against Linguistics. Raw Materials have a two goals difference from second place Cory/Matthews, who successfully defeated Piet Retief 5-1 on Wednesday, 6 May.