Friday, 4 March 2016

History made at Joburg Open!

Saturday the 20th of February saw the 2016 hosting of the oldest table football tournament in Africa – the Johannesburg Open proudly hosted by the Johannesburg Table Football Club at the Panorama Sports Club. The Joburg Open also featured the first ever Gauteng Inter-Club Championships between the host club, the Joburg Eagles and the Pretoria Flickers TFC.

Jason Kennedy (SA runner-up in 2009), Richard Graaff and Greg Green were returning from a few years sabbatical. However this did not detract from impressive performances on the day. A very competitive field of 20 players were seeded (top 8) and placed in four groups of 5 players.
The majority of games went according to the seeding with the only real surprise being local and much improved player, Wayne Pienaar, who showed some excellent touches in topping his group and eliminating one of the pre-tournaments favourites namely Chessrey Jooste and ending above of another favourite, Clifford Graaff. Jason Kennedy rolled back the years in maintaining a 100% victory in all his games and Richard Graaff won his group ahead of favourite Bevin Reed.

The quarter-finals saw Wayne continue his impressive showing by eliminating Bevin Reed in a tense penalty shoot-out. Richard Graaff was unlucky to lose to his father after scoring probably the goal of the tournament and leading with only a few minutes left only to concede a second goal virtually on the full time whistle. Youngster, and star prospect, Jayden van der Merwe, edged out Greg Green by a solitary goal. Jason Kennedy accounted for Julian van der Merwe with a penalty kick proving decisive. The semi-finals saw Jason edge out Jayden by 2 goals to 1 in a marathon penalty shoot-out. In the other semi, Clifford defeated Wayne by 2 goals to nil in a fast and entertaining game.

The final pitted Clifford against Jason in a very entertaining final. Clifford’s precise passing was instrumental in securing him the final with his first goal coming from a shot on the run which is synonymous with Jason’s trademark goals from a few years ago.

The first ever Gauteng Inter Club Champs was also played between the knock-out stages of the Joburg Open. It was decided to play two legs and take the aggregate score to determine the winner. The first leg was extremely tight and tense and Joburg’s Richard Graaff scored the only positive result for the Eagles by defeating Chessrey Jooste one nil. The other three fixtures ended goalless setting up an exciting and decisive second leg. The second leg resulted in a flurry of excitement and goals with the Eagles Clifford and Jason accounting for Pretoria’s Julian and Chessrey. Jayden score the solitary victory for Pretoria by defeating Wayne.  The Joburg Eagles won the second leg by two games to one and an aggregate score of 3-1. This new format proved extremely exciting and Pretoria is sure to host the next round of the Gauteng I/C Champs to exact revenge and bragging rights for the top table football club in Gauteng.

Jason Kennedy, regional Sales Manager for Ola Ice Cream, kindly provided supplied lucky draw prizes for all participants. Thanks Jason!!!
A special word of thanks must go to Nita for once again providing delicious treats to all the competitors on a typical Joburg summers day, extreme heat rounded off with a severe Highveld thunderstorm to cool everything down. Thanks Nita!
Thanks must go to all the competitors who played the games in the true spirit of the game –well done to you all and see you soon!!!!!

More pics here

(Report by Clifford Graaff)

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