Day 27: Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge

The commentary team here in this year’s Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge currently ongoing at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville Soweto, have baptized La-Masia FC’ shot-stopper Gabriel Thomas: ‘The archangel’.

And that’s because the 20-year old Orlando Pirates ‘keeper dives for the ball like the one who has wings on his back to carry him.

Time and gravity seems to lose its rhythm, especially in penalty shootouts, each time he lifts off for the ball.

Thomas, who demonstrated his quality between the goalposts in his side’s 5-3 win on penalties after playing to a 1-1draw against Catalonia FC on Wednesday afternoon, revealed that penalty takes and savings, is one area of his game he works extremely hard on to improve each time.

Asked how it felt like when the rest of his teammates rushed toward him in goal after saving the last penalty of the day which saw them progress to this year’ semi-finals as debutants, Thomas said: “I felt honoured, really. The truth is penalty shootouts are never easy. And what I do is; I always wait on the penalty taker to see in which direction he is going before I dive for the ball. I learned this trick from the late Orlando Pirates shot-stopper, Senzo Meyiwa when I used to train with him in the reserves. To this day, I still go over his material (video footage) to just continue learning on how he used to handle himself between the sticks in penalty shootouts.”

Thomas, whose side will lock horns with The Boys FC in the semi-finals on Thursday afternoon in pursuit of reaching this year’s final, stated that he’ll continue putting in the required hard work at his mother club (Pirates), until he establishes himself as a regular in the first team.

“I’ve been passionate about the game for as long as I can remember,” Thomas said. “I spent three years at Pirates development structures before I joined Kaizer Chiefs for a year. I parted ways with the Glamour Boys mainly because I wanted to finish my matric first. I did that. It was only after I had finished my matric that I was able to reunite with Pirates, and haven’t looked back ever since.

“I just need to put in the required hard work there, while being patient waiting for my time to crack it into the first team as well. Senzo still remains a big motivation in my life to keep on going because; the guy was there at the club for the longest time (before he got his big break). I just need to do the same thing as well.”

Match day 27 Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge Results


1 Protea Real Hearts FC 0 vs. 4 Dlamini XI Experience
2 Orange Army FC 0 vs. 1 Pimville Cameroon FC
3 Kibler Park United 1 vs. 4 Infinity Sports FC
4 Kibler Park United 1 vs. 1 Infinity Sports FC (Infinity win 5-3 on penalties)



  1 Mito Stars FC 2 vs. 4 Soweto Fabulous Ladies FC
  2 Naledi Ladies FC 0 vs. 7 Soweto Ladies FC
  3 Yarona Ladies FC 0 vs. 0 Sunbirds FC



  1 Senaoane Gunners 1 vs. 1 Strokes FC (Gunners win 4-2 on penalties)
  2 Mapetla All Stars 0 vs. 1 The Boys FC
  3 La-Masia FC 1 vs. 1 Catalonia  (La-Masia win 5-1 on penalties)
  4 Dzakaroski 1 vs. 1 Soweto Super United (Dzakaroski win 5-3 on penalties)


Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge semi-finals Fixtures (28 December 2017)


Match No Fixtures Kick-off times
1 Dlamini XI Experience vs. Infinity Sports FC 10h00
2 J Stars FC vs. Pimville Cameroon FC 11h00



Match No Fixtures Kick-off times
1 Mito Stars FC vs. Naledi Ladies FC 12h00
2 Soweto Ladies FC vs. Soweto Fabulous Ladies FC 13h00



Match No Fixtures Kick-off times
1 The Boys FC vs. La-Masia FC 15h00
2 Senaoane Gunners FC vs. Dzakaroski FC 16h30