After coming out of a difficult stream in Gauteng, JvW had a successful season off the back of determination and desire that resulted in many victories that were merely dreams four years ago. The Sasol Team topped their stream and went on to be crowned Gauteng Champions which set them on their road to Sasol League National Championships.
The 3 week journey required much discipline from all parties as Banyana Banyana prepared for the AWC with the squad having to train without many key players. Regardless of the disconnected team, the desire to succeed on a national level was instilled throughout every player and so the successful intensity was maintained towards Play-offs.
The team began their first ever playoffs with a highly anticipated match against Western Cape Champions, UWC. Back and forth scoring and many aggressive tackles highlighted the strong contention between the teams but also resulted in many JvW casualties. However, with the score locked at 2-2, Gabriela Salgado found the back of the net for the second time to secure the win for JvW. Final score: JvW 3-2 UWC. Goal scorers: Linda Motlhalo (pen.), Salgado (2).
The second match would be the group deciding match as Durban Ladies also had their sights set on the top position. Windy conditions and determined opponents made for a tough contest but JvW managed to break Durban Ladies attacking momentum as Amanda Dlamini charged down the line to set up a clean 1st touch finish for Indira Albuquerque. Final score JvW 1-0 Durban Ladies.
JvW clenched 1st place in what was widely deemed the group of death. They were drawn to face Coal City Wizards of Mpumalanga in the semi-finals who qualified as the best placed second team. An injury stricken team managed to defy the odds stacked against them and sealed a 1-0 win through a penalty, comfortably converted by Mamello Makhabane.
In the Gauteng-based team’s debut appearance at the National Champs, JvW secured their place in the final and were set to face Free State Champions, Bloemfontein Celtic. Without the services of Motlhalo who left the morning before the final match for National Duty as well as more than half the team housing injures, JvW were determined to go out and give their very best despite uncontrollable circumstances. Although it was a closely-fought contest, a build-up of momentum for Celtics going forward, and a small lapse in concentration from the JvW defence, lead to Emily Moholoholo scoring the only goal of the game in the 69th minute.
Despite the loss, JvW walked away proudly with silver medals around their necks and smiles on their faces. The journey to the final was a challenging one to say the least, but JvW showed their resilience and formed a unity that stretches further than any victory could. Additionally, their star midfielder, Makhabane won the Player of the Tournament award and was voted the Player’s Player of the Tournament while Yolula Tsawe was deservedly awarded Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Other accolades included Albuquerque and Motlhalo winning Diski Queen (Player of the Match) against Durban Ladies and Coal City Wizards respectively.
– Written by Erin Herz