Heavy tackles, gasps from missed chances and a flash of red made the third annual Mini African Cup of Nations at UCT a colourful affair.
Ghanaian Society (Ghanasoc) fought their way to a 1-0 victory over East Africa Society (Easoc) in the final of the four-team tournament on 17 May, but the football was as much an excuse to have good fun in the sun as it was about the glory.
Organised by UCT's International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) and student leaders, the competition is a sizzling battle for the title of champions between students from four regions in Africa, but they all fight under the university's Africa Month banner.
The final was tense; both the Ghanasoc team and their Easoc opponents seemed reluctant to take too many risks, and the result was a quiet first-half for both goalkeepers.
There's nothing like a red card to light the touch paper, though. Studs up tackles rarely end well, and the offending Ghanasoc player was duly sent for an early boerewors roll shortly before the break. His Easoc victim survived to fight the rest of the match, but, if anything, the loss of a man galvanised the West Africans.
Easoc's goalkeeper had some nervous moments as the Ghanaians besieged his 18-yard area, but the strikers missed chance after chance. There was more controversy as an Easoc attacker was shown a yellow-card after handling the ball in the opposition box, with the Ghanasoc players adamant that a sending-off was called for.
Frustration turned to joy when the ten-man team finally hit the target late in the second-half. Some neat footie from both teams made for a thrilling finale, and the final whistle was greeted with dancing and hugs all around.
As winning captain Maxwell Amponsah-Dacosta hoisted the trophy aloft for the second year in a row.
Three years of UCT's Mini Africa Cup of Nations have seen the tournament grow in size and stature, commented Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo after the match. "Soon, we may have to book the Greenpoint Stadium!" quipped the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Nhlapo congratulated both teams and laid down a challenge for next year's players. "We should have a rule, like in the Presidency, where you can't have the same winner every year!" he added.
Story by Yusuf Omar. Image by Michael Hammond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.