Unbeaten Fort Hare football team take aim at Sasol league title
The Fort Hare football team continued their outstanding form in the Sasol Women’s League when they outplayed Madibaz to win 4-0 in their return fixture in Alice this past weekend. It was the first game of the second phase of the competition and the result stretched their record this season to nine straight victories.
The Alice team is currently top of the log, ahead of reigning champions Sophakama, in the coastal stream. Coach Asanda Mnakaniso said their objective now was to keep the momentum going.
“We have seven games left and the aim is to get maximum points in all of them,” he said. Last season, his charges won 12 matches, drew thrice and lost once and thus far they are on track to improve on that run.
The mentor put their success down to the support they had received from Fort Hare Sport and football manager Sibabalo Feni.
“At the end of last season, he asked us to draw up a programme of action for 2023 and made sure we got everything we asked for.”
One example was to hold a training camp at the beginning of the year.
“That’s where everything started because it gave us the perfect pre-season preparation.”
Mnakaniso said Feni had been a regular face at their matches and was never short of a word of encouragement, “which means a lot to all of us”.
The influence of the technical team cannot be underestimated either.
“They know exactly what the team need and the understanding between the coaches and players has been key to our success,” he explained.
Thanks to the work done by them, Fort Hare has been able to concentrate on their defensive structures. The priority is not to concede goals, which has stood them in good stead until now.
Their goal line has been breached a mere four times this season, leaving the responsibility to the midfielders and forwards to score at the other end.
The home team struck early against Madibaz. Nicole Ngece found the back of the net in the 10th minute after a brilliant cross from Nosikho Maqqaza.
Fort Hare added two more goals by half time and one after the break.
The team is aware that they will have a target on their back during the second half of the season.
“In the first round of matches the most difficult game was against Golden Stars,” the coach said. “We won 3-2 but it was so very windy that we battled to control the game.”
The other tough match-up was against the reigning champions, whom they beat 2-1 at home.
“It was raining that day and Sophakama have a strong winning mentality, so they went all out against us. We managed to win that battle, but we know that the war is not over.”