Un­beat­able

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

ROTW claimed the NAKFA Cup for an un­ri­valled eighth time af­ter beat­ing arch ri­vals East­ern in the fi­nal of the an­nual foot­ball seven-a-side tournament last Wed­nes­day night.

East­ern scored first fol­low­ing some ping pong play in front of the ROTW goal and gen­er­ally dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings but were de­nied from ex­tend­ing their lead thanks to some to-thedeath de­fend­ing and out­stand­ing keep­ing by Lu­cas Samora, a new Brazil­ian player who had flown in to the coun­try days ear­lier.

Ad­her­ence to tena­cious de­fence in the face of the on­slaught al­lowed ROTW to launch a num­ber of counter at­tacks which, for the most part, were mostly in­ef­fec­tive be­fore

some in­di­vid­ual bril­liance from Ab­dul Janif lev­elled the scores.

The 1-1 stale­mate forced the game into the dreaded penalty shootout stage. This was won af­ter only three penal­ties from each team had been taken with East­ern play­ers ei­ther un­able to keep their shots be­low reg­u­la­tion height or were de­nied by Samora.

Else­where, Black Rarawa cel­e­brated a suc­cess­ful cam­paign by win­ning the NAKFA Plate over Kaitaia Women to add to the so­cial divi­sion ti­tle won the pre­vi­ous week.

Only 12 teams took to the fields for the open­ing round of the an­nual knock­out as­pect of the an­nual North­land Age Kaitaia Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion tournament (tra­di­tion­ally com­pris­ing seven weeks of league com­pe­ti­tion and two weeks set aside for the KO round to be com­pleted) although this be­came a bless­ing in dis­guise as it al­lowed for cup games to be com­pleted over one night.

In some ways this was re­flec­tive of the gen­eral ap­a­thy in this year’s NAKFA although feed­back re­mained pos­i­tive, ev­ery game played was played in good spirit, and the cries of de­light and hoots of laugh­ter echo­ing from both chil­dren and adults were the real high­lights for or­gan­is­ers.

Also com­mend­able was the strong rep­re­sen­ta­tion of three teams from Rarawa FC, and the Milne fam­ily, with dad Doug play­ing along­side chil­dren Hunter and Ezra in the UP&GO’s so­cial div side, while sons Bai­ley, JT and Kian fea­tured for Trans­form­ers in the premier­ship.

Or­gan­is­ers thanked ev­ery­one in­volved this year along with the Kaitaia Col­lege and staff for the al­low­ing use of the top fields.

Rest of the World, the 2018 NAKFA cham­pi­ons. From back left, Lu­cas Samora, Ryan Beard, Blair Dow­man, Jake Bur­ton, Bai­ley Milne, Ab­dul Janif, Van­der Dos San­tos, mas­cot Gabriel Dos San­tos and Wayne Van Kan; ab­sent are JJ and Pa­tric Kooss.

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