RE-LIVING THE DREAM: THE GOAL THAT BROUGHT TEARS TO ORLANDO PIRATES’ FAITHFUL

RE-LIVING THE DREAM: THE GOAL THAT BROUGHT TEARS TO ORLANDO PIRATES’ FAITHFUL

Someone recently alerted me to this flattering age old report by Sapa on the website of Mail&Guardian; so old, had it been on paper it would be a dog-eared yellowish stubble – never to be recognised. Perhaps that’s why we should be grateful for the internet. In all honesty, I still find what is written in that match report of the 2006 Supa
8 quarterfinal between SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates a bit exaggerated, but I can’t pretend not to be flattered, even to this day. I am not sure if I could have written the story any differently was I on the other side; still I am not sure what my account would have been had I been asked to recount that moment of magic as it happened. Here is what Sapa reported, word for word, lest I add some spices: “A bemused and bewildered Orlando
Pirates were snatched from the jaws of victory in a bizarre Supa8 quarterfinal at Loftus on Saturday night. Supersport United secured victory by a 6-5 margin in the penalty shoot-out after the teams had finished level 1-1 after extra time. In an astonishing finish to what had been a dour, frantic struggle, a 10- man Pirates appeared to have secured victory in the 119th minute via a classy, composed goal from the edge of the penalty area by second-half substitute Benedict Vilakazi. Bedlam in the stands among the 120 000-strong crowd and scenes of wild celebrations on the pitch among Pirates players and officials greeted what was to emerge a premature victory dance for the Buccaneers. With seconds of the game remaining, Supersport United substitute Tony Tsabedze, who had come on
to the field in the 108th minute, unleashed a 20m shot of dramatic proportions for the kind of disbelieving
equaliser that might have defied even the realms of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The first 11 kicks in the penalty
shoot-out were planted into the net with aplomb and left respective goalkeepers Francis Chansa (Pirates)
and Andre Arendse (Supersport) clutching straws as they moved in the wrong direction or not at all. Then the hapless Sam Mabe shot wide from Pirates’ sixth fateful penalty kick and immediately burst into uncontrolled tears as teammates attempted to console him. The setback from a position in which they appeared to have won the game continued for Pirates an increasingly grim and gloomy streak, in which they have failed to win a game this season while participating in the Vodacom Challenge, Telkom Charity Cup and now the Supa8 tournament. The writing seemed on the wall for the Buccaneers in the 111th minute when Gift Leremi received the second of two yellow cards within the space of two minutes and was sent off by referee Abdul Ebrahim. But even with 10 men Pirates appeared to be edging comfortably towards what seemed an inevitable goalless draw and a penalty shootout. The dramatic penalty shoot-out materialised, but not in a manner that anyone in their wildest imagination could have foreseen after aimless finishing had punctuated a game highlighted by tough, relentless defending. And, if effort was the criterion, both teams would have emerged with 10 out of 10. But when it came to finesse, composure, inventiveness
and enterprise, only substitute scorers Tsabedze and Vilakazi emerged with flying colours.—Sapa”

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