Many of us around the world are not aware of exactly in which countries goalball is active. Each month when the unofficial goalball rankings come out we are all pleased and sometimes surprised by some of the new additions to the rankings but goalball is played in many countries far beyond the scope of our list of national teams.
In recent time we have heard about goalball in Fiji, Eritrea and Yemen but how many of you knew that there is a national league taking place each year in South Africa? The league, also known as the Lucas van der Waldt Goalball league, is played over five or six competition days in a variety of different locations. The final location is based on who is on top of the leader board at the end of the second last day of competition.
This year’s season started with an orientation day for new officials and referees. South Africa is enjoying a huge boost in new officials. For this reason it was decided to sacrifice the first day of competition for a training day for all the new officials. The organisers thought that this was the best solution so no team lost valuable ranking points due to a decision made by an inexperienced referee. This training day was led by a local referee who was formerly an IBSA Goalball referee.
Due to the official’s workshop, the first official competition day was moved back to June 21. Five teams have started in this year’s competition. They are Worcester (defending champions), Sonskyn, Maties, Cloetesville and IfB.
Sadly for Maties they didn’t have enough available players on this day and had to forfeit their matches. Especially disappointing considering they were the champions from 2009-2012.
Worcester started their new season where they left off last year, with a win. They defeated Sonskyn 8-4.
IfB have a new and young team this season and were ready for their first match against Sonskyn. Their tactics were not what many were expecting but it worked because they defeated Sonskyn 8-6.
Cloetesville suffered two losses on the first day. They lost to the strong Worcester 3-11 and to Sonskyn by only one goal (9-10) after being down 3-8 at half time.
One match that many people were looking forward to was that between IfB and Worcester. The last few year’s Worcester has struggled against IfB. This game lived up to expectations. IfB scored in the second minute of play and was immediately answered with a goal from Worcester to also get them off the mark. Just before the half time whistle, Worcester scores their second goal and headed into the break with the lead.
The second half was made up of bursts from both teams. First Worcester was quick off the mark and by the half way point through the second half Worcester was leading 6-2 but then they became sloppy. IfB found their way through the Worcester defense and it quickly became 6-6.
In the dyeing minutes it remains close but Worcester managed to have the lead when that final whistle sounded and won 8-7. This was the exact same score line that Worcester had over IfB nine months ago during the 2013 season semifinal.
IfB did bounce back from their loss against Worcester with a win over Cloetesville 11-7. This was the final match for day one of competition.
The next competition day is planned for 9 August in Paarl. Sonskyn will be hosting this event. Maties will be back and the women’s division will also start.
If you wish to find out more information about the league or follow the results you can go to the Worcester goalball club Facebook page or the We Love Goalball Sa Facebook page. There may be also some videos posted on YouTube from the competition.
We wish the best to our friends in South Africa for the remainder of the Lucas van der Waldt Goalball League. We would also like to thank them for providing us with the information about this yearly competition.
If you have any interesting goalball news out of your region or country that you wish to let us know about, please feel free to contact me, Jo Ruba, media coordinator for IBSA Goalball on email@example.com