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The SAFA Provincial Nedbank Cup played soccer on 19 November 2016, representing the Overberg region.
The Gansbaai club, Early Birds FC played against teams from Cape Town, West Coast, Central Karoo and Eden at the Langa Stadium. SAFA Overberg Nedbank Cup 2016/17 champions lost to their experienced opponents, Cape Wine Lands City Killers FC, after a penalty shoot-out.
City Killers FC opened the score in the 10th minute through a brilliant pass from the middle of the park when the Early Birds FC defenders fumbled not clearing the ball. The City Killers capitalised and sent the ball home.
Multitudes in the stadium went mad chanting their songs of praise, but was soon silenced when Olethu Khumsha, “Neima” of Early Birds sliced through five defenders to score from an obscure angle and level the score.
In the second half, City Killers FC came back with the same momentum and scored again to be in the lead in the 55th minute. But Early Birds FC equalised with a bizarre goal when Lawrence Magaleni collected the ball from the number 3 position of the pitch, tore across the field like a runaway horse to score the equalizer.
City Killers took the lead in the 80th minute. The Early Birds defenders claimed the ball was out of field, but the referee cautioned them with yellow cards. In the 88th minute Early Birds equalized through the “thunder” legs of Vuyolethu Nokhange. The game ended 3-all after 93 minutes. They immediately went to penalties.
Early Birds missed two penalties, squandering their opportunities. The Early Birds goal keeper Zukile Mhedlana, a multi-talented player, who also plays as a defender, mid-fielder and striker saved two penalties and the score was once again level. The last penalty was missed by Early Birds FC who lost 3 - 2. Dreams shuttered.
Early Birds lodged a protest against City Killers for fielding Thembolethu Bushu who plays for Solyx United, and who also played in the Nedbank Cup in the Overberg region, but the protest was withdrawn.
Early Birds management said it was not worth continuing with the protest as the matter didn’t receive the attention it deserved from Provincial SAFA dispute resolution committee, and management wants to avoid further acrimonious arguments. “It seems they were delaying the hearing process deliberately,” said Early Birds FC spokesperson.
“We have lost our chance to become the Giant Slayers but we have accomplished much in our endeavour.”