ROSES United from Free State are the 2012 Vodacom League champions after defeating Milano United from the Western Cape 4-2 on penalties in a tense final at the Seshego Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday. The match finished goalless after 90 minutes.
With both sides already having clinched automatic promotion to the National First Division by virtue of winning their respective groups, the grand final was always going to be a closely contested affair and, notwithstanding supreme effort from both teams, neither was able to find a way to break the deadlock.
It took two excellent saves from Goalkeeper and Player-of-the-Tournament, William Mothokoa to deny Shaun Daniels and Shamiel Philander in the shootout to ensure the trophy will reside in Bloemfontein for the next twelve months, while Milano can return to Cape Town with their heads held high to plan for life in the NFD next season.
Winning coach, former Bafana Bafana international, John Tlale said afterwards, “I cannot properly express how proud I am of my boys. At the beginning of the season, we drafted a three-year plan for promotion and we have achieved it. Credit must go to everyone involved with this club for their unified commitment to reaching our common goal.”
“Congratulations the newly crowned Vodacom League champions. You have shown yourselves to be worthy winners and we wish you well in your endeavours in the NFD next season,” said Vodacom’s Regional Marketing Manager, Ishmael Hlomane.
With the expiry of Vodacom’s sponsorship agreement, from next season onwards, SAFA will be assuming full responsibility for the running of the League.
“As we reach the end of this road, a new path opens up for the future and we would like to wish SAFA all the best going forward,” added Hlomane.
SAFA president, Kirsten Nematandani paid tribute to Vodacom’s role in establishing the league as a vital component within the structures of South African football. “We appreciate the invaluable support and co-operation we have received from Vodacom during their sponsorship of this league,” he said. “We are confident in our ability to maintain the high standards set over the course of our partnership.”
A number of prizes were awarded at the conclusion of proceedings:
Player of the Tournament: William Mothokoa (Roses United)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Willaim Mothokoa (Roses)
Coach of the Tournament: Theo Hempe (Milano United)
Top Goalscorer: Yusuf Abrahams – 4 goals (Milano United)