The tournament rules do not allow for a grace period to accommodate late arrivals.
A tardy Saints football team helped Naughty Boys reach the final of the annual Rehana Moshoeshoe Memorial football tournament without kicking a ball in the fifth staging of the tournament by the Sol Plaatje Masters Football League.
Saints were one of the last four teams scheduled to battle it out at the Donkerhoek grounds. However, their tardiness handed Naughty Boys free passage to the final where they will now likely match up with Diamond Boys in the anticipated final.
A dejected Saints team had to sit it out under the shade and watch Diamond Boys and Batlhaping Legends do their business in the other semi-final of the tournament which took place under the blazing Northern Cape sun.
Tournament administrator Zon Flatela confirmed that Saints have lodged a protest against the decision to bar them from playing on the grounds due to the fact that they were late for the 10am start of the first semi-final. The tournament rules do not allow for a grace period to accommodate late arrivals.
The follow-up game between Diamond Boys and Batlhaping lived up to the billing as a meeting of giants. Batlhaping, seemingly determined not to be cowed by Diamond Boys’ reputation as a smooth operating machine, twice had goalbound balls bounce off their opponents’ woodwork and also came close to scoring a third time just in the first half.
The two sides gave their all while being watched by a sizeable crowd of appreciative spectators seated under gazebos and shade trees around the pitch. Diamond Boys supporter Stone Springbok loudly warned all that his side will start getting to the goals by the second half.
In the last quarter of play, Diamond Boys showed up. A beautiful exchange between three strikers saw Bolly Kalokola control the last pass in the six box and slide it into the net.
The Fishermen, aka Batlhaping, were for most of the time a determined lot that showed little respect for their opponents’ reputation. The match, however, ended with Diamond Boys’ only goal.