Independent Online

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

WATCH: Sky is the limit for this underdog Chatsworth soccer team taking on mighty Sundowns in Nedbank Cup

Published Mar 18, 2022


Durban – Every once in a while, life throws us an anomaly. Something unexpected that gives the everyday joe hope to strive for a better future.

Like the 300 Spartan warriors who faced the Persians or the unemployed single mother, JK Rowling, who shook the world with the Harry Potter series.

Story continues below Advertisement

Both the Spartans and Rowling were considered underdogs.

That’s the case with a local football club from Chatsworth, Durban, the Summerfield Dynamos.

Despite a minuscule budgets and inadequate training facilities, the Summerfield Dynamos could be seen as fearless or “Ngisabe”, which is a sticker on the team bus.

Dynamos, who play in the ABC Motsepe league – two divisions under the PSL – will face their toughest opponent yet, Mamelodi Sundowns, in the last 8 of the Nedbank Cup. They are currently on top of the KZN group.

It was not all glitz and glam, explained club chairperson Collin Naidoo, who has been with the team since 1991. On the road to the Nedbank Cup, Dynamos faced numerous hardships to try to get the ball rolling on the professional soccer scene.

In their first season of the ABC Motsepe league they faced relegation. Naidoo said things desperately needed to be shaken up, and so he did. Dynamos came back in their second season of the ABC league and claimed victory.

Story continues below Advertisement

But winning in a minor league is never enough, is it?

Naidoo said things needed to change if the club were to make real progress. Enter Clinton Larson, former coach of Bloemfontein Celtic and Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Born in Wentworth, just south of Durban, Larson told IOL that when the chairman offered him a deal with the club he could not refuse because of his history with the community of Chatsworth.

Story continues below Advertisement

The 51 year-old said the dedication shown by the players leading up to the match against Sundowns had been phenomenal.

Larson said that for a side to come from a league like the ABC Motsepe and face off against the one of the continent’s wealthiest “is almost unheard of”.

The side trains in a municipal sports field in Havenside, Chatsworth. The ground has since been taken over by the club and given a breath of fresh air.

Story continues below Advertisement

Despite the meagre facilities available at the club, they reached a stage of the Nedbank Cup that nobody thought was possible.

Dynamos defeated Uthongathi 1-0 in the round of 32, where their star goalkeeper Bongani Masoga won man of the match.

In the round of 16, the club faced North West side Black Eagles at Chatsworth Stadium and again won 1-0.

In early April, the side will head to Pretoria to face off against Sundowns in the quarter-finals.

Both Naidoo and Larson agreed that making it to the final 8 was an achievement on its own, but winning would be a sweet victory indeed.

“It will mean a hell of a lot for the club, not only the club but the community of Chatsworth. We also have support from all over KZN. Through this last year, and through the Nedbank cup, we have gained a lot of support.

“Football is virtually dead in Chatsworth and people have been excited because Dynamos is bringing football back to Chatsworth,” Naidoo said.

Larson said the Nedbank Cup was all about surprises. He said his side has no pressure going into the game against Sundowns.

“I’m very happy with where the team is at the moment, reaching the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup for an ABC team is almost unheard of. Credit must go to everybody at the club.

“They (Sundowns) are the best team on the continent, so there’s absolutely no pressure on us. We are the underdog, the little team from Chatsworth against the big boys, and that's how we like it,” Larson said.

It is also a historic moment for Larson, as the last Chatsworth football club to make it on the big stage was Manning Rangers, a team he was a part of.