Cape Town Roses 0
Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies (0)2
Kgadiete 55, 72
Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies retained the Sasol League National Championships trophy they won last year to send a strong message to their rivals by showing that it will take something special to dethrone them.
Cape Town Roses were no match for the nine-time Free State champions who cruised to their second title of the tournament that pits the nine provincial winners against each other. Melinda Kgadiete’s brace gave Celtic the trophy that comes with a R20 000 cheque. Celtic captain Boitumelo Rabale boasted before the match that this was their time and they would win this trophy this year, next year and the year after it.
Celtic are making up for the seven years they returned from the championships empty handed after blowing away the competition in Free State. Last year’s victory in Mossel Bay ended the dry spell and looks to have sparked what only Palace Super Falcons have done which is to win the championships for three years in a row.
Roxanne Barker kept Roses in the game for the better part of this match. The Banyana Banyana goalkeeper produced an acrobatic save to deny Kgadiete’s well-taken lob early into the match. Barker was quick to come out of her line to sweep any danger. There was plenty of danger from Celtic with Rabale spraying the ball behind Roses’ defenders with ease. That meant that Barker had to be alert, especially against a free-scoring Celtic side that came into this match having found the back of the net 10 times in three matches.
The reigning champions were bullish in their play against fast opponents. Celtic put Roses under pressure from the onset with their strong attack while they were comfortable knowing that their solid defence had their back to protect them from the Capetonians’ good counter-attacking game. The relentless pressure that Celtic piled on Roses eventually paid off when Kgadiete gave the Free State champions the lead.
The 25-year-old midfielder headed Tembakazi Ndlapu’s inch-perfect cross past Barker who couldn’t do anything about it. That goal gave Celtic an extra bounce in their steps in a match they controlled from the first whistle. By the time Kgadiete completed her brace it stopped being a contest. It didn't matter that Kgaelebane Mohlakoana missed a penalty as Celtic had already wrapped up the match by then.
Roses ran out of steam and they weren’t forceful enough. The Capetonians lacked imagination, playing long balls that they had no chance of winning against the tall central defence pairing of Mbane and Zenhle Chabaku. Roses only looked threatening when they put the ball down and used their speed. But they didn’t do that too often which is why they failed to win the trophy they last lifted in 2014 in Port Elizabeth.
* Njabulo Ngidi is in Nelspruit courtesy of Sasol