Glendene United United narrowly missed out on the spot in next season’s first division campaign after losing 3-0 on penalties against Platinum City in the play-offs on the weekend.
The Chukker Road-based outfit qualified for the national play-offs after being the top side in the ABC Motsepe league, Western Cape region last season.
That saw them representing the province in the national play-offs against the top sides from the other provinces, in Mpumalanga, at the weekend.
The nine sides were slotted in three groups of three and coach Bradley August’s Glendene were up againstFree State’s Mangaung Unite and KwaZulu-Natal’s Umvoti.
The Chukker Road-based side started off slowly, playing to a 1-all draw against Umvoti at Kanyamazane, on Thursday June 29. They bounced back strongly to record a hard-fought 3-2 win against Mangaung United at Kabokweni Stadium the following day. Cole Schoeman scored a brace, with Therlo Moosa contributing one for the Cape side.
That set up a semi-final date with North-West’s Platinum City. That proved to be an evenly-contested match as neither side was willing to make any silly mistakes. The match ended in a goalless stalemate and, as a result, the dreaded penalty shootout had to decide the winner.
And, in those penalties, the Glendene players seemed to have succumbed to nervousness, as their opponents went on to win 3-0.
That victory also saw Platinum City qualify for next season’s first division campaign, despite losing against history-making Northern Cape side Hungry Lions in the final.
For Glendene, it was too close. And, now it’s back to the drawing boards, as they look to try again next season.
Glendene coach Bradley August, a former Bafana international with 16 caps, said his players tried their best under the circumstances and were unlucky to make it through.
“It’s always difficult for Cape Town players to play at altitude, with the heat and the pitches in Mpumalanga but, having said that, we prepared well. In our first match against Umvoti for instance, we conceded a goal in the first 37 seconds and that meant we had to chase the game. The boys slowly got back and we were able to equalise late in the game, to gain a point.”
He said his side was, as a result, under more pressure to get positive results in their next match against Mangaung… and they did.
“We started off well against Mangaung and, at some point in the second half, we were 3-0 up. However, from there, we lost concentration and they scored two goals to make it 3-2. What was important though was that we got the necessary results to qualify for the semi-finals,” said August.
He said his side had better chances in the semi-final despite the fact that match was a tightly-contested one.
“It was a little disappointing that we had the better chance and did not use them. As for the penalty shootout, it was always going to be a lottery. We wanted this one badly, the last time we were in the play-offs was back in 2015, in Kimberley, we narrowly missed out,” he said.
Looking ahead, August said he was confident that his charges will bounce back stronger come next season. This, he said, was because they have proved hard to beat this season. And the fact that they only lost on penalties, against Platinum City, bears testimony.
“We have a fantastic team. The players have been together for two years now and know each other very well. That showed in our performance this season. In the league, for instance, we went 11 matches out of 12 unbeaten. We didn’t lose a match in open play in the play-offs either. Of course, we will look to reinforce here and there,” he said.