I had the privilege of watching live schoolboy sport up close and personal for the first time in 14 months Monday and witnessed the best KZN10 first team soccer match I’ve ever seen. Glenwood were a revelation upfront while home side Westville were more composed in what turned into a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Those close to the sport concurred with my thoughts afterwards; the intensity and quality was top-drawer – and it dawned on me how much these boys were jumping out of their skins to play an actual full-blooded derby after the too-long months of absolutely nothing.
Feature photo: Prodigiously talented Michaelhouse soccer striker Alexander Vermeulen is also the House first XV rugby captain and current fullback, although Alex is an outstanding flyhalf too. We will have to wait until the official soccer term, the third term, to see Alex in action on our KZN10.com soccer fields, as with all the top private school teams.
My gut-feel is that Glenwood firsts are possibly the marquee team to beat in KZN this year, with Westville a close second. If DHS can establish consistency they are always a threat. It’s still very early days, though, and the keynote third school “soccer” term is when the true picture will be unveiled.
Michaelhouse, with their top-class striker Alexander Vermeulen – having swapped his first XV captaincy and rugger fullback boots for his soccer striker togs – is a genuine football prodigy in a good football school. Hilton College, Clifton, St Charles College and Kearsney will also be properly back in the fray, so there is much to look forward to.
Monday was a revelation to me; the spirit of KZN10 schoolboy sport lifted me to a place I haven’t been in 14 long months. Thanks boys, and thank you to the superb organisation of KZN High Schools Football Association that is fast becoming a hallmark of schoolboy soccer in the province.
The Jimmy Bellows soccer grounds at Westville Old Boys Club were alive with the spirit of KZN schoolboy football Monday.
And come 3pm Thursday on the AB Jackson soccer grounds across the road from Harry Gwala (formerly Jan Smuts) Stadium and adjacent to #RedBlackWhite country in Princess Margaret Drive we’ll see the Inland 2nd Term League Big One of the Moment when high-flying Alexandra High firsts take on neighbours Maritzburg College.
It should be a cracking match-up with #MCsoccer Maritzburg College firsts looking to improve on their rather sketchy opening match, which yielded a 1-0 win over plucky Linpark.
Covid issues have unfortunately led to Carter and Haythorne (two traditionally strong soccer schools in the PMB/Inland region) not being present this year but that is offset somewhat by the presence of Hilton College, which is great to see.
* It is worth noting, once again, after the “surprising” 2-0 win by the Maritzburg College 2nds over Hilton last week that it is essentially not a Hilton first team, that is, it is not their premier selection of footballers.
Like the other private schools, Hilton boys are primarily geared towards their hockey or rugby commitments in the second school term, so not all the boys who are up for first team soccer consideration are available for this the second term league.
This is Hilton’s first venture into competitive second term football. An admirable initiative by Hilton.
It is in the third term – the big soccer term – that we will see what the Hilton first side (historically a strong outfit) and the other private schools are really made of, when all their boys are available for soccer selection.
Most of the government schools in the KZN set-up have the numbers to afford the luxury of year-round football squads.
STUFF TO TAKE NOTE OF
KZN U19 RESULTS
WEEK 1 – KZN INLAND STREAM
Wednesday 5 May – U19 League
Alexandra High School 5
[C. Chaba x3, S. Spipo, P. Phumelela]
Maritzburg Christian School (MCS) 1
Maritzburg College 2nds 2
[A. Simelane, T. Latha]
Hilton College Invitational XI 0
St Nicholas 4
(L. Newman ×3, S. Lurwengu)
Thursday 6 May – U19 League
Maritzburg College 1sts 1
WEEK 1 – KZN COASTAL STREAM
Monday 10 May – U19 League
[S. Ndlovu, S. Mzobe]
[B. Nduli, J. Lee]
[own goal, Mdluli]
[Vilakazi, S. Dlamini, Langazane, Buyisa]
Port Shepstone 3
[O. Skhosana x2, A. Ngcobo]
WEEK 2 (this week) FIXTURES – KZN INLAND STREAM
Wednesday 12 May – U19 League
Duzi River Fields (3.15pm)
St. Nicholas vs Maritzburg College 2nds
Zungu Field @ Hilton College (3.30pm)
Hilton College Invitational vs Linpark
Maritzburg Christian School (3pm)
MCS vs Newton
Thursday 13 May – U19 League
AB Jackson (3pm)
Maritzburg College firsts vs Alexandra