Zinnodine sends Hout Bay to final

Hout Bays Darren Phillips, right, scored his teams first goal in the semi-finals against Seven attackers.

Picture: Fuad Esack

And once again, their young keeper Zinnodine van Rooyen, 15, was in fine form between the sticks keeping another clean sheet.

The Grade 9 pupil at Hout Bay High played like a seasoned campaigner against experienced opposition strikers.

He was, of course, not alone as the entire Hout Bay team pulled the strings in their road to the final.

That unity was, once again, on display in their match against Seven Attackers on Monday. The backline, for instance, made sure they protected their goals while the front runners were able to find cracks in their opponents’ defence.

It was then not surprising when they found the opener early in the first half through Darren Phillips.

The game, from then on, moved from one end to another as Hout Bay tried to make it 2-0. The Attackers players, however, had other ideas.

They wanted to find an equaliser before the end of the first half. Both sides couldn’t find the goal they needed.

Hout Bay, however, were the more satisfied of the two going to the break, as they were 1-0 up.

The Hout Bay outfit played with even more purpose in the second half, putting their opponents under enormous pressure.

They were duly rewarded when they got a penalty early in the half and captain Emelio Arendse stepped up to make it 2-0. It was, from then on, all Hout Bay and Nevaldo Classen made it 3-0 to put the game beyond Seven Attackers’ reach.

Zinnodine, who had a blinder of the tournament so far, described their run to the final as an exciting journey.

There is no doubt that the youngster has enjoyed every minute he played so far in the competition. Many football fans started to take note when he — and his teammates — helped the side kick defending champions Glenden out of the competition, following a penalty shootout victory, in the last round of 16.

In that high-tempo match, the youngster was in fine form, keeping a clean sheet. And, as if that was not enough, he saved two penalties to kick the Chukker Road-based side out of the competition.

“Looking back at our first match in this tournament, we didn’t think we would go as far as the final. But, as the competition got tougher, we stood up for each other and fought for the team. We slowly started believing in ourselves as the results were going our way,” he said.

The youngster said they have learnt valuable lessons along the way, too.

“I’ve learnt to try not to be scared, to be confident and play with lots of energy. I sometimes feel intimidated but my captain Emelio Arendse kept motivating me. He would come up to me and tell me I could do it,” said Zinnodine, who counts Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs as his hero.

It was mostly because of his encouragement that I was able to save many penalties in the road to the final,” said Zinnodine, who counts Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs as his hero.

The side will take on an equally impressive Athlone’s Avendale Athletico, who beat Gugulethu’s JL Zwane in their semi-final. And, Abrahams was confident his side could win the title.