Maritzburg College’s 1st soccer team of 2023 will be remembered as one of the school’s finest sides to have graced the football pitch. Week in and week out they delivered memorable performances, leading to three titles and memories to last a lifetime.
Playing a quick passing, possession type of game, in the mould of Barcelona, the team benefitted from strong leadership on and off the pitch.
Captain Mateo Horstead commanded the midfield and regularly sliced open the opposition with his incisive passing, while forward Mazithi Qasha was prolific in front of goal. At the back, the College defence played with assurance and calm confidence.
They didn’t win every tournament they contested, and bowed out early in the Wildeklawer Soccer Tournament, but the College boys retained belief in themselves throughout, bouncing back with their trust in one another undiminished.
Perhaps their biggest cheerleader and a source of strength for the team was Maritzburg College’s Director of Soccer, Nic Haswell, who hails from a well-known football family. Haswell promised dominance from his players, and they delivered on his promise.
College’s Michael Dibben (one of the best football commentators on SuperSport Schools) wrote: “This 1st XI’s players have gone from strength to strength and they’ve cemented their place as one of, if not the best team, in the 160 years of Maritzburg College.”
Considering the quality of players that have passed through the school, that is high praise indeed.
The team, which was coached by Maritzburg College old boy and former pro footballer, Chemon Petersen, the son of legendary Moroka Swallows’ striker Calvin Petersen, captured the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands FA Cup for the first time in the school’s history in September. Goals from Mateo Horstead, Ilunga Kayembe and Thando Hlophe sealed a 3-2 victory for College over Carter High in a scintillating final played at Hilton College.
The red, black and white had won their first trophy of the 2023 season in May when they annexed the KZN High Schools Inland Football League title, defeating Linpark 1-0 in the final. They followed that up with the Primo Big 10 title in August, beating Glenwood 1-0 to claim the honours after two days of intense competition. The FA Cup victory over Carter High completed the treble.
College’s dominance was on full display during their run to the FA Cup title. They opened their account with an 8-0 thumping of St Nicholas, with striker Grayson Mentory netting four times in the win. He would go on to finish as the tournament’s top goal-scorer with seven goals.
Horstead and company delivered another impressive performance in the semi-finals, overrunning Alexandra High School 5-1.
Demonstrating how well-balanced the team was, there was also recognition of their defensive efforts when College shot-stopper CJ Sukraj was named the goalkeeper of the tournament.
Against St Nicholas, he pulled off a stunning penalty save to keep his side 2-0 in front.
Summing up the season, Maritzburg College Director of Soccer, Nic Haswell, said he was extremely proud of what the 2023 1st team achieved. They put in plenty of hard work and the treble was a deserved reward for their efforts, he reckoned.
Full Maritzburg College Soccer Team
1 CJ Sukraj
2 T Hlophe
3 AP Ngcobo
4 O Mkhwanazi
5 L Matshoge
6 T Myeni
7 P Khuzwayo
8 S Mncwabe
9 J Kayembe
10 M Qasha
11 Z Makangela
12 B Middleton
13 G Mentory
14 M Horstead (C)
15 O Thabethe
16 M Mncwabe
17 A Ngcobo
18 M Momple
19 P Schutte
20 J Marais
21 O Mqadi
22 A Cele
23 S Zulu
24 T Madzimure
A passionate reader and dedicated writer, Siya possesses three degrees from Rhodes University including a Postgraduate Diploma at Rhodes University. He also played amateur cricket and soccer, both during his university years. While honing his journalism skills at Grocott’s Mail in Makhanda, he developed a profound interest in the community’s response to crime. Additionally, he covered topics such as art/culture and student politics at Rhodes University in 2022. In his spare time, Siya can be found exploring galleries, dining at restaurants, indulging in literature, taking photographs or savouring his favourite dish, spaghetti.