- For the Dragonial rugby team, see Dragonial Springboks.
The Transvaal Springboks association football (soccer) club in Liga Mundo was formed on January 12, 2008. The Boks play all their home matches at Loftus Versfeld Stadium (capacity 51,762) in Pretoria.
The squad was originally "owned" by the Staatsregeringministrie vir Sport en Atletiese van Transvaal and managed by Bartnel Botha, who held the post of Minister for Sport & Athletics in Transvaal during the existance of the nation. On February 11, 2011, after the collapse of Transvaal [in CNRP], Bartnel Botha acquired the club and it has since then been under private ownership. Since May 5, 2010 (during Season 8), Botha has also held the post of Commissioner of Liga Mundo. Mid-way through Season 12, Manager Botha signed a player contract on December 2, 2011 and became the team's starting goalkeeper. He played in four games before ending his brief comeback and hanging up his cleats early in Season 13, returning to his off-field positions.
On May 4, 2009 after their match against SiPS, the club moved temporarily to Khomasdal Stadium (capacity 10,300) - the home field for Windhoek Welwitschia - for the duration of the Karma War as Loftus Versfeld was deemed un-usable at the time. Two matches were played there before the club announced their return to Loftus Versfeld three weeks later on May 25, 2009. During the TOP-C&G War, the club once again moved to Khomasdal Stadium after the Witwatersrand region came under nuclear attack on February 4, 2010. The club returnd to Loftus Versfled on April 2, 2010 prior to the start of Season 8.
The club sponsor in their first season was Soundic Radio; the sponsor was dropped at the start of Liga Mundo 14.
The Springboks, or Die Bokke as they are nicknamed in Afrikaans, played in the Primera Liga (first division) for their first 16 seasons until they were demoted to the Segunda Liga (second division) on May 17, 2013 heading into Season 17. The Springboks' best league finish was when they won their first league championship in Season 5 after defeating Estrella Roja in the final match of the season on June 8, 2009. Their worst finish was when the club finished in 9th and last place in Season 16. At the end of Season 2, the club faced relegation to the Segunda Liga until Hanslope Hornets, the club finishing above them, folded and the Springboks managed to retain their spot in the Primera Liga.
Joop Boekweg was the last remaining player from the initial 18-man expansion roster until he retired at the end of Season 15. Stien van Buyten joined the team just prior to the inaugural season as a junior prospect and he broke the 20-season mark (along with Arthur Basso of VolNation Volunteers) heading into Season 20. After Basso's retirement at the conclusion of Season 20, Van Buyten was the very last remaining active player from Season 1 in Liga Mundo as well as olding the record for most seasons played and for being the oldest outfield player - at age 39 - to ever take to the field in a Liga Mundo match. Stien van Buyten would retire at the end of Season 21.
Original Springbok Ricardo van Deinsen announced his retirement at the conclusion of Season 5. At the time of his final match, he was second on the club in most matches played (84) and lead the club in most points (45) and most goals (34). Van Deinsen is also (to date) the only Springbok player to have played in all four positions on the field - including two victories in net as the emergency substitute goalkeeper. He would later come out of retirement to sign with NVK Kaapstad Hornets of Nordreich Liga.
As the team headed into Season 12, the Springboks began to find themselves eclipsed on the field by their cousins Windhoek Welwitschia and Kaapstad Hornets as those two teams found league and cup success in their respective leagues while Die Bokke soldiered on through another mid-table campaign. Windhoek Welwitschia became regarded as the strongest team in Transvaal after winning their second league championship as well as reaching the cup finals twice in Vedder League Season 13. In the Nordreich Liga, Kaapstad Hornets dethroned six seasons of Dorpat Lions dominance in the Nordreich Cup when they defeated Zemo City Avengers for the championship. Meanwhile fans of Die Bokke Nasie sit and wait for their team to make it past the semi-finals in the cups.
Joop Boekweg gained legendary status after playing his 100th match on August 21, 2009, the first Springbok to reach the century mark and the 7th player in Liga Mundo history to do so. Dick Witchge gained legendary status on January 5, 2010 with his 100th (and ultimately final) match. Henk Schot gained his legendary status two weeks later on January 19, 2010 in his 100th match. Stien van Buyten, the club's first-ever junior prospect signing, reached legendary status on June 17, 2010. Matthias Rieger reached legendary status on September 30, 2010. Thurston Alderton reached legendary status on November 4, 2010 as only the second goalkeeper in Liga Mundo to reach 100 career games-played. Charles Brennan became the first forward to reach legendary status when he played 100th match on on November 25, 2010. Balthazar Botha reached legendary status on December 9, 2010. Mark Verwayen and captain Leon Hooiber both achieved their legendary status when they played their 100th game in the opening match of Copa Cato III on January 10, 2011. Detlef Botha played his 100th legendary match on March 3, 2011. Emmanuel Hörtnagl played his 100th match on August 18, 2011. Cetshwayo Ngwane became the club's youngest legend when the 23-year-old fullback played his 100th match on June 11, 2012. Arlindo Kaká played in his 100th Liga Mundo match on June 28, 2012; his 100th legendary match with the Springboks came on July 5, 2012.
On December 1, 2011 with the departure of Henk Schot, fullback Joop Boekweg became the last remaining player from the original expansion roster. "The Grand Old Man" of Transvaal football, Joop Boekweg continued to play with the club until the conclusion of Season 15 - having played in a total of 253 matches (35 of them cup games) when he hung up his cleats on December 30, 2012 after 15 seasons. During Season 15 on December 20, 2012, Mark Verwayen played in his 200th career match.
Six matches into Season 16 and facing relegation to the Segunda Liga, Manager Bartnel Botha resigned as club manager after the Springboks' 2-1 loss against VolNation Volunteers on February 14, 2013. Team captain Detlef Botha - who had just played in his 200th career match for the club - was named his replacement effective the following day. Bartnel Botha remained involved as club owner and Liga Mundo Commissioner.
Midfielder Emmanuel Hörtnagl scored the Springboks' 500th regular season goal on March 28, 2013 during a 4-2 loss to the VolNation Volunteers. Jakob Kruger played in his 100th legendary match on April 11, 2013.
On April 25, 2013, with two games remaining in Season 16 the Transvaal Springboks finally notched their first win of the season, after enduring a painful 13-game winless streak, by downing Syracuse Salty Dogs 4-1 at Syracuse Memorial Stadium. The victory was the 100th regular-season win in club history - however, a nil-nil draw the same day in Marseille involving Arcadia FC effectively sealed the coffin on the Springboks’ tenure in the Primera Liga as the team was officilly consigned to relegation for the following season; Arcadia FC's 15 points in the table at that point managed to put Primera Liga survival out of reach for Transvaal.
On May 17, 2013, the Springboks began life in the Segunda Liga when the Season 17 schedule was released. Balthazar Botha played in his 200th career match on June 13, 2013 in a 3-3 draw versus RMI Armed Forces FC.
The Springboks returned to the Primera Liga in Season 18.
Due to the effects of the Disorder War raging across the globe, on November 11, 2013, the Transvaal Springboks agreed with a request from their allied comrades in the Northern Reich to open up Loftus Versfeld to groundsharing the two Dorpat teams for the duration of the conflict. Both Dynamo Dorpat of Liga Mundo and Dorpat Lions of the Nordreich Liga relocated to Pretoria until hostilities ended and it was feasible and safe to move the club back to their home grounds. On January 30, 2014, Dynamo Dorpat played their final home match of the season at Loftus Versfeld, returning to Dorpat for the start of Season 19.
Season 18 saw the Springboks reach the following milestones in the club's overall history going back to April 2007: 500th competitive match on October 17, 2013 at VolNation Volunteers; 1000th goal scored on November 4, 2013 by Jakob Kruger at Keville United FC; 100th draw on November 7, 2013 vs. Nordheim Badgers FC; 200th loss on January 9, 2014 at Nordheim Badgers FC; 600th point in standings on January 23, 2014 vs. Skagafjörður Nords AFC.
Detlef Botha played his final match in Liga Mundo on January 30, 2014 in the Springboks's last home game and penultimate match of Season 18, a 3-3 draw versus VolNation Volunteers in which he scored his 107th goal of his career. He officially retired as an active player on February 8, 2014. At the time of his retirement, he was 4th in career matches (237) and led the club in career totals for goals (107), assists (77), points (184), X11 team selections (80), yellow cards (90), and red cards (20). In the later two categories, he was the all-time leader in Liga Mundo.
Season 19 saw the team return to their second stint in the Segunda Liga after finishing 10th and last place in the Primera Liga the previous season. Arlindo Kaká scored the club’s 600th regular season goal on March 13, 2014 in the 33rd minute of their 3-3 draw at Skagafjörður Nords AFC.
Prior to the Copa Cato XII quarter-final that season, the club was taunted by their opponents Templar United. After comments made how “Templar were looking forward to reminding the Boks where they belong: beneath the Templar Boot”, Manager Detlef Botha started wearing black wellington gumboots in response. Inspired by their manager’s actions, the Springboks managed to defeat Templar United and then dispatched the defending Copa Cato champions Dynamo Dorpat to reach the first-ever cup final in the club’s history. Fans started referring to the team as the Gumboot Nation in response to Die Bokke’s surprising and inexplicable cup run. The Springboks finally met their match and their magical run came to an end as Guajolotes dispatched the upstarts 4-1 and 2-0 in the Copa Cato XII Finals; the only bright spot being the club's first-ever (and only) goal scored in a cup final, by veteran midfielder Emmanuel Hörtnagl in the 27th minute of the first leg.
Other highlights of the season saw 19-season veteran Stien van Buyten play in his 300th match during Season 19, helping to lead the team to a close 4-3 victory over Debate Land Orators on May 22, 2014- his playmaking ability during the contest resulting in him scoring the first goal of the match. Then in the following week's match, reserve forward Yamamoto Sugoi broke Balthazar Botha’s five-year Liga Mundo record for the fastest 4 goals scored by one player in one game, by shaving off 3 minutes from the record. Sugoi scored his four goals against the Skagafjörður Nords AFC in Transvaal's 6-1 win on May 29, 2014 which secured the Springboks' first-ever Liga Mundo Team of the Month award. Stien van Buyten became the first Springbok player to reach 300 career matches on May 22, 2014. In the final game of Season 19, a 2-all draw versus The Fighting Sherms, Christopher de Beers played his 100th legendary match while Arlindo Kaká played in his 200th match with the Springboks.
Season 20 saw the club win its first cup championship when they defeated Clachnacuddin 2-0 in the UCFA Champions Cup III Final on October 20, 2014. Marais van der Merwe and Jakob Kruger scored the two Springbok goals in the match.
On November 20, 2014, Stien van Buyten became - at age 39 - the oldest outfield player ever to appear in a Liga Mundo match when he started for the Springboks in their Season 21 opener versus Plymouth City FC. He was also the last remaining active player in Liga Mundo from Season 1 as well as holding the record for most seasons in Liga Mundo with 21 campaigns to his name. After appearing in 4 matches during his 21st and final campaign, Stien Van Buyten decided to take an early retirement and hung up his cleats on December 30, 2014 – two weeks short of seven years in Liga Mundo. His last game took place at Loftus Versfeld on Christmas Day of 2014 when he entered the game as a substitute in the Springboks’ win over The Fighting Sherms.
Jakob Kruger played in his 200th bicentennial match on June 8, 2015 during Season 22 when the Springboks faced Clachnacuddin in the first leg of the Copa Cato XIV finals.
On July 10, 2015, prior to the start of Season 23, Manos Torgo voluntarily relinquished his captaincy to Cetshwayo Ngwane, the goalkeeper viewing the fullback great as a better person suited for the role.
In Season 24, on February 11, 2016 versus Bethlehem FC, Jakob Kruger became only the second Springbok to reach the century mark when he scored his 100th and 101st career goals.
Pieter van Uys played in his 200th bicentennial match on January 5, 2017, three games from the end of Season 27.
On March 2, 2017, during Season 28, Dave Ashcroft played in his 120th match, the new club record for most career games played by a Springbok goalkeeper - breaking the legendary Thurston Alderton's previous record of 119 career matches.
The conclusion of Season 33 was a changing of the guard, as veterans Yamamoto Sugoi and Riaan Strijdom had departed just prior or early into the season while Marais van der Merwe and Dieter Schweissing retired at the end of the season - however the most notable departure was Manager Detlef Botha retiring after seventeen and a half seasons at the helm of the club. He was replaced by his 52-year-old brother Balthazar Botha the following day.
On opening day of Season 34 on October 17, 2019, the Springboks reached 400 wins in the club's history, going back to the start of the UCFA Champions League in April 2007, with a 2-1 victory at Loftus Versfeld over Verde Maltas.
- 500th competitive match on October 17, 2013 at VolNation Volunteers
- 1000th club goal scored on November 4, 2013 by Jakob Kruger at Keville United FC
- 100th draw on November 7, 2013 vs. Nordheim Badgers FC
- 200th loss on January 9, 2014 at Nordheim Badgers FC
- 600th point in standings on January 23, 2014 vs. Skagafjörður Nords AFC
- 800th league goal scored on February 4, 2016 by Hugo Schmitt vs. SK Tirana
- 400th all-time historical win on October 17, 2019 vs. Verde Maltas
Uniform kit and coloursEdit
The club's kit colours, adopted on September 14, 2009, are bottle green shirts with golden orange and white neck trim paired up with white shorts.
The Springboks have used three previous uniform designs. The original kit from Season 1 consisted of green shirts and yellow shorts with green trim. However around one month into their first season season, the shorts were changed to orange with green trim. This design was then retained for the better part of three seasons until it was changed during the later third of Season 4 on January 27, 2009 to green and orange shirts with vertical stripes and black neck trim paired up with green shorts with orange trim.
On January 6, 2011, the club announced that in honour of the third annivesary of the founding of Liga Mundo on January 20, the team would wear a retro kit in its match that day against VolNation Volunteers based on the original green and yellow colour scheme. The retro kit and original club emblem were unveiled on January 18, 2011 for its anniversary match two days later. After switching back to the usual kit on January 21, 2011, the club began using a plain all-white kit for shirt and shorts as the alternative kit.
League Record by SeasonEdit
|Liga Mundo 1||Jan-Apr 2008||Pri 1||22||12||1||9||42||34||+8||37||5th/12||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 2||Apr-Jul 2008||Pri 1||14||3||2||9||20||32||-12||11||7th/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 3||Jul-Oct 2008||Pri 1||14||5||1||8||22||30||-8||16||5th/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 4||Nov-Feb 2009||Pri 1||12||6||2||4||29||22||+7||20||4th/7||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 5||Mar-Jun 2009||Pri 1||14||8||5||1||31||16||+15||29||1st/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 6||Jul-Oct 2009||Pri 1||16||5||4||7||27||29||-2||19||5th/9||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 7||Nov-Mar 2010||Pri 1||16||6||3||7||30||30||0||21||6th/9||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 8||Apr-Aug 2010||Pri 1||16||7||3||6||38||36||+2||24||5th/9||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 9||Sep-Dec 2010||Pri 1||14||6||3||5||31||27||+4||21||4th/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 10||Jan-Apr 2011||Pri 1||14||6||5||3||24||19||+5||23||2nd/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 11||Apr-Aug 2011||Pri 1||18||9||4||5||41||34||+7||31||5th/10||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 12||Sep-Jan 2012||Pri 1||16||4||4||8||32||42||-10||16||7th/9||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 13||Jan-Apr 2012||Pri 1||14||7||0||7||46||38||+8||21||4th/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 14||May-Aug 2012||Pri 1||14||8||2||4||30||30||0||26||2nd/8||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 15||Aug-Dec 2012||Pri 1||16||7||2||7||41||44||-3||23||4th/9||Bartnel Botha|
|Liga Mundo 16||Jan-May 2013||Pri 1||16||1||5||10||25||43||-18||8||9th/9||Bartnel Botha / Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 17||May-Sep 2013||Seg 2||16||11||2||3||47||17||+30||35||2nd/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 18||Oct-Feb 2014||Pri 1||18||2||4||12||34||53||-19||10||10th/10||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 19||Feb-Jun 2014||Seg 2||16||9||5||2||47||25||+22||32||2nd/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 20||Jul-Nov 2014||LM Pri 1||16||5||1||10||26||37||-11||16||8th/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 21||Nov-Mar 2015||LM Seg 2||16||11||1||4||44||24||+20||34||2nd/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 22||Apr-Jul 2015||LM Seg 2||14||8||3||3||34||31||+3||27||3rd/8||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 23||Jul-Nov 2015||LM Seg 2||16||9||5||2||35||22||+13||32||3rd/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 24||Dec-Mar 2016||LM Seg 2||14||11||1||2||40||13||+27||34||1st/8||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 25||Mar-Jun 2016||LM Pri 1||14||2||0||12||17||40||-23||6||7th/8||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 26||Jul-Oct 2016||LM Seg 2||14||7||3||4||42||31||+11||24||4th/8||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 27||Nov-Jan 2017||LM Seg 2||14||8||1||5||37||26||+13||26||4th/8||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 28||Feb-Jun 2017||LM Seg 2||18||12||0||6||56||30||+26||36||4th/10||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 29||Jul-Nov 2017||LM Seg 2||18||14||0||4||54||17||+37||42||3rd/10||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 30||Dec-Apr 2018||LM Seg 2||18||18||0||0||69||8||+61||54||1st/10||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 31||May-Aug 2018||LM1 Pri||16||4||6||6||33||36||-3||18||7th/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 32||Sep-Jan 2019||LM2 Seg||16||10||3||3||39||20||+19||33||3rd/9||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 33||Jan-May 2019||LM2 Seg||18||10||3||5||40||18||+22||33||4th/10||Detlef Botha|
|Liga Mundo 34||Jun-Oct 2019||LM2 Seg||18||12||1||5||47||16||+31||37||2nd/10||Balthazar Botha|
|Liga Mundo 35||Oct-Feb 2020||LM1 Pri||18||7||3||8||32||32||0||24||7th/10||Balthazar Botha|
|Liga Mundo 36||Mar-Jun 2020||LM1 Pri||18||4||4||8||27||29||-2||16||8th/9||Balthazar Botha|
Cup Record by SeasonEdit
|Liga Mundo 1||no competition||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Liga Mundo 2||El Legado Cup||4||2||2||0||10||6||+4||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 2||Gloria de Verano Cup||1||0||0||1||0||1||-1||defeated in preliminary round|
|Liga Mundo 3||Gloria de Verano Cup||4||1||1||2||6||7||-1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 4||Invierno Clásico||8||5||1||2||24||16||+8||defeated in semi-finals|
|Liga Mundo 5||Gloria de Verano Cup||4||2||1||1||8||9||-1||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 6||Copa Del Mar||1||0||0||1||3||4||-1||defeated in first round|
|Liga Mundo 6||Copa Legada||4||2||1||1||10||9||+1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 7||El Invierno Clásico||6||3||1||2||17||15||+2||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 7||Copa Legada||4||1||1||2||10||10||0||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 8||Copa Del Mar||2||1||0||1||7||6||+1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 8||Copa Cato I||6||4||0||2||21||7||+14||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 9||Copa Cato II||2||0||1||1||4||5||-1||defeated in first round|
|Liga Mundo 10||Copa Cato III||4||2||1||1||15||10||+5||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 11||Copa Del Mar||1||0||0||1||1||4||-3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 11||Copa Cato IV||2||0||0||2||1||5||-4||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 12||Gloria de Verano Cup||4||3||0||1||7||8||-1||defeated in semi-finals|
|Liga Mundo 12||Copa Cato V||2||0||0||2||2||9||-7||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 13||Copa Cato VI||4||2||2||0||10||11||-1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 14||Copa Cato VII||8||3||3||2||15||16||-1||defeated in semi-finals|
|Liga Mundo 15||Copa Cato VIII||4||2||0||2||10||10||0||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 15||Copa Del Mar||1||0||0||1||2||6||-4||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 16||Copa Cato IX||2||0||0||2||2||6||-4||defeated in first round|
|Liga Mundo 16||Copa Del Mar||3||2||0||1||6||6||0||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 17||Copa Cato X||4||2||0||2||12||9||+3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 17||Gloria de Verano Cup IV||2||1||0||1||8||6||+2||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 18||Copa Cato XI||6||4||0||2||13||7||+6||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 18||UCFA Champions Cup I||3||2||0||1||10||6||+4||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 19||Copa Cato XII||10||5||0||5||25||19||+6||defeated in finals|
|Liga Mundo 19||UCFA Champions Cup II||2||1||0||1||3||7||-4||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 20||Copa Cato XIII||4||3||0||3||13||10||+3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 20||UCFA Champions Cup III||5||5||0||0||12||3||+9||won UCFA Champions Cup|
|Liga Mundo 21||Copa Cato XIV||2||0||1||1||2||5||-3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 21||UCFA Champions Cup IV||4||3||0||1||8||5||+3||defeated in semi-finals|
|Liga Mundo 22||Copa Cato XV||8||5||2||1||20||16||+4||defeated in finals|
|Liga Mundo 23||Copa Cato XVI||4||3||0||1||10||6||+4||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 23||UCFA Champions Cup V||2||1||0||1||8||4||+4||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 24||Copa Cato XVII||10||7||2||1||24||11||+13||defeated in finals|
|Liga Mundo 25||Copa Cato XVIII||2||1||0||1||1||4||-3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 26||Copa Cato XIX||2||1||0||1||4||3||-1||defeated in first round|
|Liga Mundo 27||Copa Cato XX||4||1||1||2||11||12||-1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 28||Copa Cato XXI||4||2||1||1||8||5||+3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 28||UCFA Champions Cup VI||2||1||0||1||6||3||+3||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 29||Copa Cato XXII||4||2||0||2||8||7||+1||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 29||UCFA Champions Cup VII||2||1||0||1||5||4||+1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 30||Copa Cato XXIII||4||2||1||1||11||7||+4||defeated in quarter-finals|
|Liga Mundo 30||UCFA Champions Cup VIII||2||1||0||1||3||4||-1||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 31||Copa Cato XXIV||2||0||0||2||1||4||-3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 32||Copa Cato XXV||2||0||1||1||5||10||-5||defeated in first round|
|Liga Mundo 33||Copa Cato XXVI||2||0||0||2||3||6||-3||defeated in first round|
|Liga Mundo 33||UCFA Champions Cup IX||2||1||0||1||4||4||0||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 34||Copa Cato XXVII||4||1||0||3||4||13||-9||defeated in third round|
|Liga Mundo 35||Copa Cato XXVIII||2||0||0||2||0||3||-3||defeated in second round|
|Liga Mundo 36||Copa Cato XXVIV||2||0||0||2||1||7||-6||defeated in second round|
Player Career StatisticsEdit
Includes regular season and cup matches; * indicates player retired with club
|CAREER STATISTICS (Seasons 1-29)|
|Stien van Buyten||MF||21||14-Jan-08||30-Dec-14||313||53||78||131||22||0||1||19|
|Pieter van Uys||MF||17||10-Jan-12||current||241||42||60||102||58||13||2||16|
|*Christopher de Beers||F||17||4-Aug-11||28-Jan-17||164||62||25||87||37||2||1||22|
|Marais van der Merwe||MF||15||26-Sep-12||current||210||40||45||85||67||8||0||10|
|Christiaan van Schalkwyk||D||14||1-Jan-13||current||172||32||22||54||10||0||1||27|
|Bismarck Botha, Jnr.||F||12||6-Oct-13||current||127||42||10||52||13||1||0||12|
|*Ricardo van Deinsen||F||5||12-Jan-08||10-Jun-09||84||34||11||45||21||0||0||9|
|Bert van der Meer||D||6||12-Jan-08||29-Oct-09||90||1||16||17||43||5||1||12|
|Rafael van Heijswijk||MF||2||12-Jan-08||26-Apr-08||18||1||5||6||4||1||0||1|
|Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen||F||3||13-May-09||11-Jan-10||12||3||2||5||2||0||0||0|
|Martijn van der Woerdt||MF||2||12-Jan-08||15-Jul-08||21||3||2||5||2||0||0||0|
|Raymond van Eijk||MF||1||12-Jan-08||13-Apr-08||6||2||0||2||1||0||0||0|
|Hendrik van Schou||MF||1||16-Jan-10||14-Apr-10||5||1||1||2||1||0||0||0|
|Paul Nlend Wome||F||1||7-Nov-08||12-Jan-09||2||1||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Menno Van Graejleven||MF||1||14-Apr-08||29-Jul-08||6||1||0||1||2||1||0||0|
|Bram van Eijkeren||F||1||12-Jan-08||16-Apr-08||11||1||0||1||2||0||0||0|
|Donald ‘Stumpy’ Perkins||F||1||29-Sep-17||current||5||0||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Göran von Knorring||GK||3||29-Nov-08||14-Jan-10||16||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Hempsel van Buren||GK||1||10-Sep-17||current||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
- Bartnel Botha - (January 12, 2008 to February 14, 2013)
- Detlef Botha - (February 15, 2013 to May 25, 2019)
- Balthazar Botha - (May 26, 2019 to present)
|MANAGER REGULAR SEASON & CUP RECORDS (Seasons 1-34)|
|Bartnel Botha||15.5||Season 1||Season 16||Jan 2008 - Feb 2013||314||131||58||124||678||659||+19||340||.510|
|Detlef Botha||17.5||Season 16||Season 33||Feb 2013 – May 2019||383||208||49||126||948||662||+286||497||.607|
|Balthazar Botha||3||Season 34||present||May 2019 – present||60||24||8||28||111||100||+11||77||.467|
Great Springbok playersEdit
- Bertrand Basson - midfielder, wears #18. He was signed during Season 18 for $819,800. Basson excels with the headers and is a calm, cool ace on the set-plays and freekicks. He played in his 100th career match on May 26, 2016, at Loftus Versfeld in a 3-0 loss to Ocean´s Gold. Basson had an incredible breakout campaign during Season 28 when he finished with 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points - just 1 shy of tying club records for all three scoring categories. His solid performance in Season 28 saw him earn a spot on the All-Liga All-Star team.
- Bismarck Botha, Jnr. - forward, wears #26. His father Bismarck Snr. was a member of the Windhoek Welwitschia club in the Vedder League for 10 seasons, playing in 68 matches and scoring 25 goals. Bismarck Junior followed in his father's (and Uncle Detlef's) footsteps for being an expert freekicker and he wore the jersey number of his other uncle, the legendary foreard Balthazar Botha. He scored his first hat-trick, during Season 26, on October 6, 2016 when the Springboks drew Swamplandia Sinners 4-all. In Season 28, Botha made his 100th career appearance on March 2, 2017 in a 3-1 victory over SK Shqiponjë. On March 1, 2018, in the eleventh regular season match of Season 30, Bismarck Botha scored 4 goals in a row during the course of 42 minutes in the Springboks' 6-0 thrashing of Anfield Road XI at Stone Hill Stadium; he almost bagged a fifth goal but it was ruled disallowed by the referee for offside.
- Hugo Schmitt - midfielder, wears #21. Schmitt was signed August 1, 2015 at the age of 18 for a hefty $3,061,600 contract. Almost immediately, the rookie became one of the most anticipated players of future stardom for the Springboks and soon made his ability and reputation known on the field as a midfield general - blessed with a strong work-ethic on and off the field as well as a strong foot, good goal-sense, and quick speed. Entering his sixth season, at just the age of 23, Hugo Schmitt was already being groomed for future captain duties and was named assistant to skipper Christiaan van Schalkwyk at the start of Season 28. One game into Season 31, Christiaan van Schalkwyk relinquished the captaincy in favour of 26-year-old midfielder Hugo Schmitt. He was named to the Segunda Liga and All-Liga all-star teams in Season 30 and Season 33.
- Anton Wynand - midfielder, wears #19. Wynand was promoted from the junior team during Season 20 on June 24, 2014. He played in his 100th career match in Season 28 on March 23, 2017. Armed with a calm, calculating demeanor and a strong foot on freekicks, Wynand began seeing occasional assignments as a playmaker and on the set-pieces starting in Season 20.
- Theo Botha - forward, wears #11. Signed during Season 26 as a 16-year-old free agent prospect for $2,887,500, Theo Botha immediately had all the hallmarks of a player destined for greatness with the Springboks. He is the son of the legendary Springbok midfielder and current team manager, Detlef Botha - and displays all the toughness and fancy footwork of his father although without the dirty play which was the notoriety of his elder's reputation. His uncle Balthazer Botha was one of the greatest forwards to play for the team.
- Eugen Schoenheist - goalkeeper; wears #35. Signed as youthful free agent in Season 23 for $2,490,500, with his toughness, solid positioning, and cat-like acrobatics lunging for airborne shots, Eugen Schoenheist very early on had the hallmarks of greatness in his future. As an understudy of Dave Ashcroft, he held down the back-up role for five seasons before being promoted as starting keeper at the beginning of Season 30. In Season 34, he became the club's all-time leader for cleansheets, eclipsing his own mentor Dave Ashcroft who held the record prior.
- Karl Verhoog - fullback, wears #3. A quiet, unassuming, defensive defender, Karl Verhoog was signed for $494,900 in Season 24 and has developed into perhaps one of the greatest defenders to wear the green and gold. He rarely crosses the half line, averages around 1 assist per season, and seems content to stay out of the limelight - however, his incredible game-sense, intellect, and coolness under pressure has made him an opposing wall deep in the penalty box zone. Despite a rash of major injuries he endured in three of his seasons, Verhoog each time has returned with continued vim and vigor. The Loftus Verfeld faithful often compare with the the great Bismarck Steyn, a similar style of player although with Verhoog possessing a finer, refined skillset.
- Jim Anderson - midfielder, wears #38. He was signed as a free agent in Season 25 for $428,600. After three seasons in a developmental role, Anderson found hismelf seeing a lot of playing time and starts as injury relief. Not as deadly nor prolific a goal-scorer as his contemporaries Carl Noghot or Johannes Roussouw, Jim Anderson uses his speed and intelligence more as a defensive midfielder and transitional role.
- Carl Noghot - midfielder, wears #14. Noghot was signed for $2,976,200, a large sum for such a young player, in Season 27 but has developed into one of the better, go-to midfielders for Transvaal. By his fifth campaign, he was being used as an alternate playmaker for the Springboks along with Jim Anderson.
- Johannes Roussouw - midfielder, wears #9. He joined the Springboks straight out of the youth system in Season 28 and with his powerful shot and accurate long passing, he has quietly made steady improvement every season. By around Season 35, he had finally secured a permanent starting place on the midfield, and together with Jim Anderson and Carl Noghot, they formed a versatile young trio to buttress the older, core veterans in the midfield.
- Paul Borlund - forward, wears #20. He was signed in Season 25 on May 10, 2016. For all his impressive skill set and ability, Paul Boland has struggled over the seasons to fulfill his potential and only sporadically shone his talents. Armed with a an accurate foot, an knack to slot in any position on the field, and great speed, he has generally played in the shadows of his fellow line-mates on the attack. His goal-scoring totals have been streaky to say the least - not bagging his first goal until his third season. In his fifth season, he then exploded in the Segunda Liga with 12 goals during league play, before drying up again over the next couple of seasons. For most of his career, he has been challenging and fighting for a starting spot in the game-day line-up. Heading into his 30s, Paul Boland found himself starteing in Season 37 relegated more and more to the sidelines for substitute duty.
- Ricardo van Deinsen - forward; wore jersey #10 (Season 1 to Season 5) - Van Deinsen was an original player with the club who played from Season 1 through Season 5; at the time of retirement, was second on the club in most matches played (84) and lead the club in most points (45) and most goals (34); played in and won two matches as substitute emergency goalkeeper; he had 2nd most bookings (6 yellow cards) in Season 4 Primera; retired at age 30 after final match on June 8, 2009. He would later come out of retirement at age 31 and sign with NVK Kaapstad Hornets of the Nordreich Liga, playing four seasons with the Hornets from Nordreich Liga Season I until Nordreich Liga Season IV when he retired at the age of 35. He played a career total of 128 matches over 8 seasons in Liga Mundo and Nordreich Liga. At the time of his departure from the Hornets, he lead the Kaapstad club in career goals scored with 25 and was second in career points with 33. He played his final match on October 17, 2010 and officially retired exactly one month later.
- Gert Grünholz - forward; wore jersey #9 (Season 1 to Season 5) - An original Springbok, he played for the club from Season 1 through Season 5 and was released in Season 6 on July 9, 2009. He was sixth in career games (65) played going into Liga Mundo Season 6; at the time of his release he was age 35, fourth in career points (29) and third in career goals (21). He was team captain in the first three seasons for the club. He had 3rd most bookings in the Primera Liga (7 yellow cards) in Season 3; His final match occured on May 18, 2009 versus VolNation Volunteers.
- Bert van der Meer - fullback, wore jersey #4 (Season 1 to Season 6) - An original Springbok, Van der Meer played in Liga Mundo Seasons 1 through 6 before he was sold on October 29, 2009 for $1,000,000 prior to the start of Season 7. At the time of his departure from the club he was 32. One of the toughest, most physically hard players seen on what has historically been a physical team, Van der Meer averaged a yellow card every 2 matches and had 5 red cards to his name. Every season he was in the Top 3 for penalty infractions of one sort or another, leading Liga Mundo for yellow cards the past four seasons. Despite the carnage he left behind on the field, he was selected 12 times to X11 teams.
- Dick Witchge - midfielder; wore #8 (Season 1 to Season 7) - An original Springbok, played Liga Mundo Seasons 1 through 7 and gained legendary status after playing 100th match on January 5, 2010 - however he never played another match as he was released by the club soon after on January 16, 2010. He lead the team in scoring in Season 1; at the time of his release, he was second on the club in most matches played (100), tied for second-place in career points (45), and in fifth for career goals (19).
- Charles Brennan - forward; wore #23 (Season 3 to Season 10) - Brennan held the position of leading striker during his tenure with the team from Season 3 through to Season 10 and up until the start of Season 9, he was the club's all-time leading scorer for points and goals; Detlef Botha passed him for career points on September 27, 2010. Brennan scored his 50th goal when he scored a hat-trick in the Springboks' 7-0 rout of Compostella Artois in a cup match on June 27, 2010. He became the first forward to reach legendary status when he played 100th match on on November 25, 2010. Brennan was released by the club on April 15, 2011 - at which time he lead the club in career goals with 60 and was second for career points (76). Even three years and ten seasons later, his 60 career goals still had him ranked 3rd in the club history books.
- Thurston Alderton - goalkeeper; wore #1 (Season 2 to Season 11) - He joined the team in the last half of Season 2 and secured the starting goaltending job by the following season. His best seasons were those from Season 4 until Season 8 during which he single-handedly led the team to the Liga Mundo championsip in Season 5. Alderton became known for his penalty-kick goalscoring ability and scored 6 goals during his career with the Springboks. He was named Primera All-Star goalkeeper in Season 5 and Season 7. Just after the midpoint of Season 11, at age 35 and the oldest player to have played with the club to date, Alderton was sold to Atlético Luz Del Mar for $780,000 on July 22, 2011. He played his final match for Transvaal Springboks the day before and at the time of his departure, he had played in 119 matches. His career save average was 69% and had an average of 26% on penalty kicks against him. Thurston Alderton is regarded by many fans to have been the greatest Springbok player during the club's first season-decade of existence. He then played in 6 games (65% save average and 33% saves against penalties) as a back-up for Atlético Luz Del Mar; his final match in Liga Mundo during Season 12 on January 5, 2012 when he substituted in goal in a 5-0 lose against Guajolotes. He spent the whole of Season 13 as a substitute on the sidelines. He officially retired from Liga Mundo on April 14, 2012.
- Matthias Rieger - midfielder; wore #11 (Season 3 to Season 11) - Signed for $5,800,000, Rieger joined the team in the later half of Season 3 at age 27. He led the Primera Liga for most assists (7) in Season 4. His most productive campaigns have been Season 4 and Season 5 and saw himself named to the Primera All-star team both seasons. Rieger reached legendary status on September 30, 2010. Announced his retirement for the end of Season 11 and played his last match on May 19, 2011 against Atlético Melloria in which he scored his final career goal. At the time of his retirement, Rieger was fourth in career games played (129), fourth in points (60), fifth in goals (24), and second in assists (36) for the Springboks and led the club in career X11 selections with 58.
- Henk Schot - midfielder; wore #14 (Season 1 to Season 12) - An original Springbok, he played from Season 1 until mid-way through Season 12 and gained legendary status after playing his 100th match on January 19, 2010. He was released by the club during Season 12 on December 1, 2011. At the time of his departure, he was in second-place for career matches played with 174. Never a real producer on the field, the speedy Schot struggled for most of his career to earn the respect of fans and teammates – and as the second generation of midfielders, such as Van Buyten, D Botha, Verwayen, and Hörtnagl came to the fore, Henk Schot found his playing time decrease. His best days were long ago before Transvaal Springboks won their first (and to date, only) Liga Mundo championship. His best campaign was probably his first, when he finished 4th in team scoring for the ’Boks in Season 1.
- Leon Hooiber - fullback; wore #3 (Season 3 to Season 15) - This stay-at-home defender joined the team in the later half of Season 3 as the club's most expensive ($7,700,000) signing to date. Due to his strong leadership prowess on the field, Hooiber soon found himself named team captain the following season at age 23. Hooiber played his 100th game during Season 11 in the opening match of Copa Cato III on January 10, 2011. He led the Springboks as their captain for twelve and a half seasons until he opted for an early retirement mid-way through Season 15 and was released by the club on October 28, 2012. At the time of his retirement, he was aged 34 and had played in 184 career matches for the club (tied for 4th place), scored 3 goals and had 24 points to his name. He was named to the X11 Team 17 times during his 13-season career. His final match was played on October 25, 2012 - a 5-3 loss to rivals VolNation Volunteers.
- Joop "Radar" Boekweg - fullback; wore #2 (Season 1 to Season 15) - He played in 15 seasons from Season 1 until the end of Season 15. An original Springbok, the hardworking Boekweg gained legendary status after playing his 100th match on August 21, 2009, the first Springbok to reach the century mark and the 7th player in Liga Mundo history to do so. In Season 10 Boekweg became the first Springbok player to earn 50 selections to the X11 Teams. After the departure of Henk Schot in Season 12, he became the last remaining player from the original expansion roster. He played in his 200th match on December 1, 2011. "The Grand Old Man" of Transvaal football, Boekweg played in a total of 253 matches (35 of them cup games) and was named to the X11 Team 73 times. He scored 9 goals (3 of them in Season 8) and bagged 30 assists for 39 points. His only league merits came during Season 11 when he finished 3rd for most bookings (5 yellow cards) in the Primera Liga and then late in his career in Season 15 when he was 3rd in sendings-off (1 red card) - and his only appearance on the Primera all-star team was in Season 4. While his given name was in fact "Joop", it was almost always misspelt as "Joep". He acquired the nickname "Radar" during the early days of the club from always flying under the radar when the transfer deadline loomed. He was released by the club on December 30, 2012 after the 37-year-old announced his impending plans for retirement during the off-season after Season 15.
- François Théron - goalkeeper; wore #30 (Season 6 to Season 16) – Signed as a free agent in Season 6, the 22-year-old François Théron was signed for $1,100,000 and brought in to become an understudy of the legendary keeper Thurston Alderton. Much hope was placed upon his shoulders as the future keeper of Die Bokke – and after Alderton was sold to ALDM during Season 11, Théron became the starting keeper for around three seasons until Manos Torgo was acquired midway through Season 16. In his early seasons, as a back-up, he showed great potential when thrown into clutch situations – but when he finally landed the starter’s job, he found himself completely outclassed by the talent in the Primera Liga – having mostly played against weaker sides in cup play – and despite admirable efforts on the pitch, the Springboks nevertheless began to bleed goals to their detriment and eventual relegation by the start of Season 17. After one impressive over-achieving campaign in Season 14, where his strength on breakaways, solid position, and nimble reflexes helped him stay afloat amongst the tough competition, he followed up with two subsequently-frustrating seasons. By the end of Season 16, he found himself replaced by former Windhoek Welwitschia great Manos Torgo, who was coaxed out of retirement, and consigned to the reserve roster. In 80 matches for the Springboks, the second-most of any goalkeeper (at the time of writing), Théron managed a middle of the road 64% save average – but a miserable 11% on penalty shots. X11 selections were scarce; only twice was he named to an X11 team and both times it came in cup play. He was released on May 20, 2013 just prior to the start of Season 17.
- Balthazar Botha - forward; wore #26 (Season 1 to Season 17) - Wearing #26 through out his 17 seasons in Liga Mundo, Balthazar Botha was the club's second junior prospect signing. In his early years, he generally played in the shadows of Gert Grünholz, Charles Brennan, and his younger brother Detlef. The elder Botha’s most notable achievement is setting a Liga Mundo record in Season 4 when he scored 4 goals in a row in the space of 36 minutes as the Springboks demolished Gumbo Gods 7-1 on January 16, 2009 - a league record which stood for almost four-and-a-half years and 15 seasons until Yamamoto Sugoi broke it on May 29, 2014 during Season 19. Balthazar reached legendary status on December 9, 2010 during Season 9. On May 19, 2011 he scored his 50th and 51st goals in a 4-0 win against Atlético Melloria to become the third Springbok to reach the 50-goal plateau. Since Season 14, he has been eclipsed by his line-mate Jakob Kruger as the leading forward on the team. Balthazar assisted on Emmanuel Hörtnagl's goal on March 28, 2013 which was the Springboks' 500th regular season goal during a 4-2 loss to the VolNation Volunteers. He played in his 200th career match on June 13, 2013, during in a 3-3 draw in Season 17 versus RMI Armed Forces FC. His final two campaigns (Seasons 16 and 17) saw him more and more relegated to substitution roles. He announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of Season 18 - however on October 6, 2013, he decided to resign his spot with the club in favour of his 16-year-old nephew Bismarck Botha, Jnr. His last competitive match was on August 22, 2013 when the Springboks defeated Debate Land Orators – although he appeared in one friendly a week or so before the end of the season. At the time of his departure, Balthazar Botha was ranked 5th in career games played (206), 2nd in goals (88), 7th in assists (32), and 2nd in career points with 120. He made the X11 teams 18 times, good enough for 3rd place in career statistics. He led all forwards in career games, goals, points, and X11 team selections (18). Regarded as somewhat of a cheater around the referees, he picked up 48 career bookings (2nd most for the club). After his brother Detlef stepped down as manager at the end of Seasons 33, Balthazar Botha was named as the third Springboks manager on May 26, 2019 at the age of 52.
- Detlef Botha - midfielder/player manager; wore #17. (Season 4 to Season 18) - The flamboyant younger brother of Balthazar Botha, he joined the club as a junior prospect in the later half of Season 4. He is most noted for his fearsome freekicking ability and physical toughness on the pitch. Considered by many to be the greatest Springbok player, Detlef has since September 27, 2010 (in Season 9) been the club's leading career pointman. He made an immediate impact on the scoring charts in his second season but it wasn't until Season 8 when his dominance in his position became solidified on a league-wide scale with 1st or 2nd place finishes in the scoring charts as well as his first all-star section - and then repeated these achievements the following season. He reached legendary status during the later half of Season 10 on March 3, 2011. Botha scored his (49th and) 50th career goal on April 7, 2011 in a 2-0 victory against Arcadia FC - only the second player to reach 50 goals. On September 12, in a Gloria de Verano cup match versus Dynamo Dorpat, Botha picked up an assist (and later in the match, a goal) to became the first Springbok player to reach the 100-point plateau. He was named team captain on October 28, 2012 after Leon Hooiber hung up his cleats mid-way through Season 15. Heading into Season 16, Detlef Botha led the club in all career statistical categories (goals, assists, points, bookings, red cards, and X11) except for games played. Botha played in his 200th bicentennial match on February 14, 2013. On the following day, Detlef Botha was named the Springboks' manager after Bartnel Botha resigned the previous day after 16 seasons at the helm of the club. His debut campaign as manager ended up being a black cloud on his season, as the Springboks were consigned to relegation to the Segunda Liga weeks before Season 16 ended. Adding insult to ignominy, Detlef Botha suffered through his worst season statistically in his career and then succumbed to a serious injury heading into the final week of Season 16. He voluntarily relinquished the team captaincy to goalkeeper Manos Torgo on May 12, 2013 after one and a half seasons. Three games into Season 17, Botha re-injured himself and missed almost four weeks of matches. He then re-injured himself on his return match and sat out the following four weeks. At the start of Season 18, frustrated with the injury bug he fought against the previous season and now seeing his performance in decline, Deltef Botha announced his playing retirement at the conclusion of the season so that he could concentrate on management of the team. He then assigned himself a relief substitute role on the roster for his last season. His final match in Liga Mundo came on January 30, 2014 in the Springboks's last home game and penultimate match of the season, a 3-3 draw versus VolNation Volunteers in which he scored his 107th goal of his career. He officially retired on February 8, 2014. At the time of his retirement, he was 4th in career matches (237) and led the club in career totals for goals (107), assists (77), points (184), X11 team selections (80), yellow cards (90), and red cards (20). In the later two categories, he was the all-time leader in Liga Mundo. He was ranked 3rd for career points and 4th for career goals in the entire league for all active players. His son, Theo Botha, was signed as a forward by the club during Season 26. Detlef Botha managed the club for seventeen and a half seasons until he stepped down and retired at the conclusion of Season 33; his management record was an impressive 208 wins and 49 draws in 383 league and cup matches, giving him a .607 winning record. He was replaced by his 52-year-old brother Balthazar Botha the following day.
- Mark Verwayen - midfielder; wore #7. (Season 1 to Season 19) - This unassuming but very adept ball-header was the third junior prospect to join the club in Season 1. After six seasons playing in the shadows as a substitute, Verwayen had a break-out campaign during Season 7 and secured first-team status which he held until his 19th season when he moved back to the reserves. Verwayen played his 100th game during Season 11 in the opening match of Copa Cato III on January 10, 2011. During Season 15 on December 20, 2012, he played in his 200th career match - a 3-3 draw at Templar Forsworn. Verwayen set up and assisted on Emmanuel Hörtnagl’s goal on April 21, 2014 which was the club's first and only goal scored in a cup final match - during the Copa Cato XII Finals against Guajolotes in Season 19. On May 22, 2014, he scored his 50th and ultimately final career goal during a 4-3 win over Debate Land Orators. Mark Verwayen - now 37 years-old - was released by the club during the off-season prior to Season 20 to make room for a younger starter in an ever-aging midfield line. At the conclusion of his 19-season career in Liga Mundo, he was ranked 2nd overall in career games played for the Springboks with 276. Along with his 50 goals, he had 48 assists to his name which placed him 5th in career points scored with 98.
- Emmanuel Hörtnagl - midfielder; wore #12. (Season 4 to Season 20) - He joined the club in in the final weeks of Season 4 and played the next few seasons as a regular substitute. Probably the best-ever two-way player in Transvaal football, Hörtnagl was adept in all positions and his cool character under pressure made him one of the critical 'go-to' playmakers along with Stien van Buyten. He made the Primera Liga all-star team in Season 7. 'Emms' Hörtnagl played his 100th match on August 18, 2011 during Season 11. He scored the Springboks' 500th regular season goal on March 28, 2013 during a 4-2 loss to the VolNation Volunteers. During Season 17, Hörtnagl scored his 100th point on June 6, 2013 when he picked up two assists during the Springboks' 3-0 win against Clachnacuddin. He also played in his 200th match that same season on August 19, 2013. The wear and tear of the game started to catch up with him in Season 18, which saw him suffer through an endless chain of major and minor injuries which hampered his performance throughout the season - with major injuries continuing into Season 19 as he missed 58 days stuck on the sidelines from mid-October 2013 onwards. On April 21, 2014, during the first leg of the Copa Cato XII Finals in Season 19, Hörtnagl scored the club's first goal in a cup final match - the goal was also his 50th career tally. Despite the mounting injuries, he still managed to pull off one of his stronger campaigns that season. Hörtnagl was moved to the reserves at the start of Season 20 after he announced that it would be his final playing season. At the time of his retirement on November 1, 2014, after 17 seasons playing in Liga Mundo, Emmanuel Hörtnagl was ranked 4th in career games played for the Springboks with 251. He finished 5th in goals (54), 3rd in assists (66), and tied in 3rd place with Balthazar Botha with 120 career points scored.
- Stien van Buyten - midfielder; wore #20. (Season 1 to Season 21) - He was the club's first-ever junior prospect, promoted to the senior team just 2 days after the club was founded in Liga Mundo. His best seasons came during the championship run in Season 5 when he gained prominence as an instrumental playmaker on the midfield line and in Season 13 when he scored 7 goals and 7 assists to finish 3rd in scoring in the Primera Liga – earning his only appearance on the all-star team. He gained legendary status after playing his 100th match on June 17, 2010. Van Buyten played in his 200th match on June 18, 2012 during the first-leg semi-final match in Copa Cato VII versus Syracuse Salty Dogs. He scored his 100th career point - becoming the 3rd Springbok to reach that mark - on April 1, 2013 when he scored a goal during Transvaal's 4-1 defeat of Debate Land Orators in the first round of Copa Del Mar V. Van Buyten scored his 50th career goal in Season 18 on October 24, 2013 during a 3-3 draw at Skagafjörður Nords AFC. In Season 19 with age catching up with him, the 37-year-old Van Buyten was moved to the reserves. He played in his 300th match during Season 19 on May 22, 2014, helping lead the team to a close 4-3 victory over Debate Land Orators - his playmaking ability during the contest resulting in him scoring the first goal of the match. On November 20, 2014, Van Buyten became - at age 39 - the oldest outfield player ever to appear in a Liga Mundo match when he started for the Springboks in their Season 21 opener versus Plymouth City FC. He was also the last remaining active player in Liga Mundo from Season 1 as well as holding the record for most seasons in Liga Mundo with 21 campaigns to his name. After appearing in 4 matches during his 21st and final campaign, Stien Van Buyten decided to take an early retirement and hung up his cleats on December 30, 2014 – two weeks short of seven years in Liga Mundo. His last game took place at Loftus Versfeld on Christmas Day of 2014 when he entered the game as a substitute in the Springboks’ win over The Fighting Sherms. He departed from the game as the club’s career leader for games played (313) and assists (78) and in second-place for career points (131).
- Paul Grünholz - fullback, wore #5. (Season 9 to Season 22) - Acquired by the club for $4,466,000 after the departure of reserve fullback Cuthbert McGorry, Paul Grünholz was the son of the first Springboks captain and former great, Gert Grünholz. He spent his first 7 seasons playing on the reserve line until the departures of Leon Hooiber midway through Season 15 when he became a fulltime starter. He played in his 100th match during Season 18 on October 17, 2013. Season 19 got off to a terrible start for Grünholz when he was injured in the season opener and then found himself sidelined for almost four weeks. At the start of Season 23, at the age of 32, he was placed on transfers by management and sold on July 28, 2015 for $1,200,024. Despite appearing in 180 career matches - the fourth-most for any fullback in the history of the club - Grünholz was often viewed as a underachieving performer after a slow development and never received the respect due to a player of his ability and length of tenure with the club.
- Tommy Woodward - midfielder, wore #7. (Season 20 to Season 24) - Woodward was a very rare breed on the Springboks, one of a handful of veteran free agent signings the club made over the years and seasons. After toiling around various other leagues for a decade of seasons, he was signed at the start of Season 20, at age 29, for $2,870,900 in one of the club's largest money acquisitions. Fast-footed and relaxed when on the field, Woodward immediately stepped into a spot on the starting line-up to help fill vacating holes due to player retirements and releases in the midfield. Not a major finishing player, he was content to take on a supporting role in the team's offensive transition up the field. After one game into Season 24, his fifth campaign with the club, he was placed on transfers and sold for $1,568,028 on December 19, 2015 after 69 games played as a Springbok.
- Dési Baako - forward, wore #25. (Season 14 to Season 25) - The son of the legendary and pioneering Transvaler footballer Dakarai Baako, Dési was signed on June 18, 2012 at age 17 for $1,149,900. While displaying the calm, calculated intelligence of his father, the younger Baako was slow to progress to the same levels of greatness on the field. Baako played in his 100th match on April 7, 2016, entering the game in the 80th minute of what was his first match of Season 25. He played in a total of 103 matches over a dozen seasons, scoring 20 goals and 11 assists for 31 points. He was released mid-season in Season 25 on May 6, 2016.
- Manos Torgo - goalkeeper, wore #1. (Season 16 to Season 25) - Manos 'The Hands of Fate' Torgo played 14 seasons in the Vedder League with Windhoek Welwitschia from VL Season 2 (signed on May 15, 2009) until the club folded at the end of VL Season 15. Torgo was ranked 5th in all-time career matches played in the Vedder League by a goalkeeper with 73 games played during regular-season play. His career with Windhoek Welwitschia spanned a total of 95 matches and he was regarded the greatest Transavler goalkeeper by the time Windhoek Welwitschia club ceased operations in July 2013. His strongest efforts came in VL Season 16 when he had an 83% save average. He played a season-high of 14 games in VL Season 13 and was instrumental in leading the club to its second and third league championships. Manos Torgo came out of retirement on March 2, 2013 when he signed a $8,612,700 contract with the Transvaal Springboks in Liga Mundo. Heading into Season 17, Torgo was named team captain. During the off-season leading up to Season 19, Clachnacuddin made a transfer offer to acquire him but the Springboks management refused it. On July 10, 2015, prior to the start of Season 23, Torgo voluntarily relinquished his captaincy to Cetshwayo Ngwane, viewing the fullback great a better person suited for the role. On opening day of Season 24, on December 10, 2015, Torgo played in his 100th career game in Liga Mundo as he shutout the Gopher City Pippas FC with a narrow 1-0 victory. Manos Torgo played his last match on April 28, 2016, when he entered the game as a substitute for an injured Dave Ashcroft at Dynamo Dorpat and retired at the conclusion of Season 25 after 115 games played over 10 seasons in Liga Mundo. He retired with 71% save average, 52% penalty save average, and 24 cleansheets. His combined career with Windhoek Welwitschia and Transvaal Springboks saw him make a total of 210 appearances over 24 seasons with 101 X11 team selections to his name.
- Arlindo Kaká - midfielder; wore #22. (Season 7 to Season 26) - Kaká joined Atlético Luz Del Mar during Season 7 after being promoted from their junior team on January 7, 2010. After playing in one match for Los Niños, he was shopped to the Transvaal Springboks. After protracted negotiations, which at one point broke down when Die Bokke withdrew their offer, he was signed by Transvaal Springboks on January 16, 2010 - after much hesitancy - for $850,000 as a replacement for Dick Witchge. Kaká played in his 100th Liga Mundo match on June 28, 2012; his 100th legendary match with the Springboks came on July 5, 2012. Accurate on the freekicks, Kaká became an understudy of Detlef Botha and the team's alternate freekicker. He earnt a full-time starting position after the departure of Henk Schot mid-way through Season 12. His best season to date was his second, when he picked up 5 goals and 8 points during Season 8. Kaká came to prominence during Season 17 when he led the team in points scoring. He scored the club’s 600th regular-season goal on March 13, 2014 in the 33rd minute of their 3-3 draw at Skagafjörður Nords AFC. After the retirement of Detlef Botha at the conclusion of Season 18, he became the most prominent midfielder on the team. Arlindo Kaká played his in 200th career Liga Mundo game during Season 19 on May 29, 2014. He followed up this accomplishment shortly after by playing in his 200th career match with the Springboks on June 19, 2014 - the final match of the season. On August 28, 2014, Kaká scored his 100th career point when he picked up an assist in a match against Skagafjörður Nords AFC at the mid-point of Season 20. A couple of weeks after this milestone, Kaká began to suffer through a chronic chain of serious injuries keeping him stuck on the sidelines - missing a month of play in the last half of Season 20 and then half a month in both the two following seasons. At age 34, he had one of his strongest campaigns in his career as he led 1st in assists (10) and tied 2nd in points (15) in the Segunda Liga during Season 23. In league and cup play, Kaká totaled 9 goals and 11, assists for 20 points. He made both the Segunda Liga all-star team and the Liga Mundo all-liga all-star team. The following season however saw him sidelined for three weeks during January 2016 due to major injuries, which then set him back for the remainder of Season 24. In Season 25, Kaká played in his 300th Liga Mundo league match on May 26, 2016 followed his next game by his 300th career match with the club on June 2, 2016. His playing time diminished substantially during his 20th and final season, relegated to substitute duty after struggling offensively in his previous couple of campaigns. Appearing in just 3 games, his last coming on September 1, 2016 as a substitute in the 87th minute of play, Kaká retired at the conclusion of Season 26 on October 15, 2016. Arlindo Kaká retired ranked 3rd in career matches (303) with the club, 4th in career goals (82) and 2nd in career points (157) and only the third player in club history to reach 20 seasons.
- Jakob Kruger - forward; wore #8. (Season 8 to Season 26) - Kruger joined the team in Season 8 when he was promoted from the junior team as a replacement for journeyman Neil Northfield. A hard-working attacker adept with freekicks, the unassuming Kruger has quietly but steadily risen through the ranks to develop into the best Springbok attacker in history as he headed into Season 14. He played in his 100th legendary match on April 11, 2013. During Season 18, Kruger scored the club's 1000th goal on November 4, 2013 in a Copa Cato XI match at Keville United FC. Later that same season, he scored his 50th career goal on January 23, 2014 during a 5-2 win over Skagafjörður Nords AFC at Loftus Versfeld. During the Springbok’s UCFA Champions Cup run in Season 20, Jakob Kruger scored the fastest natural hat-trick in Liga Mundo cup history when he scored 3 consecutive goals (in the 17th, 19th, 23rd minutes) against VolNation Volunteers in the semi-finals on October 13, 2014. He played in his 200th bicentennial match on June 8, 2015 when the Springboks faced Clachnacuddin in the first leg of the Copa Cato XIV finals. On February 11, 2016, versus Bethlehem FC, he scored his 100th and 101st career goals - becoming only the second Springbok to reach the century mark. Kruger was named to the Segunda Liga all-star team in Season 24 after having his best season to date, scoring a career-high 12 goals and 16 points. Kruger retired at the conclusion of Season 26 on October 15, 2016 - although his last match took place on August 25, 2016 when he entered the game in the 88th minute as a substitute. At the time of his retirement, Kruger led all forwards in club history with 248 matches played (8th overall), 2nd in career goals (106 - only one behind the record held by Detlef Botha), 3rd in career points (140 - the most of any forward), and 4th (72) in career X11 team selections.
- Christopher de Beers - forward, wore #27. (Season 11 to Season 27) - He joined the team in Season 11 when he was promoted from the junior team. A tough, workhorse player, De Beers became a starting forward in Season 18 after the retirement of the legendary Balthazar Botha during the pre-season and he quickly adapted to his new role by bagging a natural hat-trick in the season opener versus Guajolotes on October 10, 2013. During Season 19, De Beers scored four goals in one game as the Springboks defeated FC Konkrage 6-0 in league play on March 6, 2014. He played in his 100th legendary match on June 19, 2014 in the final game of Season 19 - although he was substituted out in the 79th minute after picking up some bumps and bruises. De Beers closed out the season with 10 goals scored in league play which saw him named to the Segunda Liga all-star team. His career took a nosedive and slumped in Season 25 as he managed to appear in just 4 matches. The following season saw his playing time greatly reduced but saw him still find the back of the opposing net 4 times in 5 matches as he took on a second-half finishing role. In his final season, he was used sparingly - appearing in just 104 minutes between 2 matches. De Beers retired at the conclusion of Season 27 with 164 career matches played. In his 17 seasons, he scored 62 goals and 87 points - ranking him in 3rd place for all Springbok forwards in career games, goals, and points.
- Lourenço Figueroa - midfielder; wore #11. (Season 11 to Season 27) - Prior to joining the Springboks, Figueroa played three months with Atlético Luz Del Mar. He joined Los Niños during Season 10 after being promoted on February 7, 2011 as a junior prospect. He would end up appearing in 4 matches for Atlético Luz Del Mar that season. At the start of Season 11, on April 14, 2011 he was acquired off transfers by the Transvaal Springboks for $2,200,000. He spent his first five seasons with Die Bokke as a reserve player but constantly showed signs of promising brilliance whenever he did take to the field. While not known for his goal or points production, by Season 15, his all-round ability combined with his strong stamina, hard shot, and knowledge at reading the action on the opposing crease saw him assigned to the occasional role as the playmaker for the midfield - and by the following season had seen himself secure a place in the starting line-up. On July 25, 2013, during Season 17, Figueroa played in his 100th career match in Liga Mundo. The following month, on August 26, 2013, he played his 100th legendary match with the Springboks. Figueroa took his performance to the next level when he led the Segunda Liga in scoring with his 16 points during Season 19; a career season, he broke the team record for most games played in one season with an incredible 27 appearances in Season 19. During Season 22, he played in both his 200th career match in Liga Mundo (on April 16, 2015) and his 200th career match with the Transvaal Springboks (on May 4, 2015). Along with Rolandiñho Boa Monréal of Marseille FC, Figueroa was one of last two Costa Libertad raised and trained players in Liga Mundo who came up through Atlético Luz Del Mar. When he announced that Season 27 would be his final campaign, Figueroa continued with his starting spot on the roster. In the final month of the season, club management ensured he would start all remaining matches so he could retire with exactly 300 Liga Mundo matches to his name - a fitting tribute to a fan favourite who was regarded highly by Transvaler supporters to have been one of the most popular foreign players to ever wear the green and gold. Figueroa was named to two Segunda Liga all-star teams during his career, in Season 19 and in his final campaign in Season 27. He retired from Liga Mundo on an outstanding high note, bagging a hat-trick in front of a home crowd as the Springboks demolished VolNation Volunteers 4-1 on January 26, 2017 - as well as the club's leading goal and points scorer that season. he finished 4th in all-time career matches with the club (296), 5th in career goals (64) and assists (55), and 7th in career points with 119 along with his 4 matches with his homeland side Atlético Luz Del Mar.
- Cetshwayo Ngwane - fullback; wore #3 (previously #4). (Season 7 to Season 27) - Arguably the best product of the club's junior programme, the 23-year-old Zulu fullback became the club's youngest legend when he played his 100th match on June 11, 2012. He is one of the youngest players to sign with the club and only one of five 16-year-olds to play for the Springboks; his brother Dingiswayo Ngwane, a retired superstar with the Kaapstad Hornets, was one of the others. Expert with heading the ball and cool and relaxed on the pitch, Cetshwayo was regarded as the greatest African player to ever suit up for Transvaal Springboks as well as the club's greatest and most durable fullback. He joined the club during Season 7 after promotion from the junior squad and by Season 9 had founded himself a place with the starting defensive line-up. By the start of Season 17, at age 26, he was already regarded as the greatest fullback to suit up for the team. After 12 seasons wearing the #4 sweater, Cetshwayo changed to #3 at the start of Season 19. He played in his 200th career match in Season 19 on April 21, 2014 during the first leg of the Copa Cato XII Finals against Guajolotes; his accomplishment however was marred by an own-goal scored during the game. After the retirement of Stien van Buyten midway during Season 21, Cetshwayo became the most senior player in the club in terms of career length and games played. On July 10, 2015, prior to the start of Season 23, he was named the fifth captain of the Springboks after goalkeeper Manos Torgo relinquished the role to Ngwane on his suggestion. Cetshwayo Ngwane played in his 300th career match in Season 25 on May 5, 2016 in a 3-1 losing effort at The Pond versus Ocean´s Gold. On August 11, 2016, during his 20th season, Ngwane played in his 314th career match - which saw him move past Stien van Buyten as the club's all-time leader for career games played. At the start of Season 27, Cetshwayo announced that the current campaign would be his last. Mirroring what Manos Torgo had done for him, he relinquished his captaincy to Christiaan van Schalkwyk. He retired at the conclusion of Season 27, at age 36, after 21 seasons and went into the history books as the Springboks' all-time leader for career matches played (327) and X11 selections (92). He held the goal-scoring record (28 goals) and points record (68) for all fullbacks to have played with the club.
- Bismarck Steyn - fullback, wore #6. (Season 9 to Season 28) Steyn joined the team in Season 9 when he was promoted from the junior team. He was promoted to the starting fullback line heading into Season 16 when Joop Boekweg retired. Steyn played his 100th match during Season 18 on October 24, 2013. He was named to the Segunda All-Star Team in Season 21 after finishing 3rd in X11 selections (11) in the Segunda Liga. He reached the 200-game threshold on January 25, 2016 when he scored the lone goal in the 1-1 draw versus The Fighting Sherms in the opening leg of the Copa Cato XVII cup semi-finals. Steyn retired at the conclusion of Season 28 after playing in 247 matches in 20 seasons. A defensive fullback comfortable with dominating in his own end, he scored but 3 goals and 15 assists during his long career with the Springboks and was regarded at the time of his retirement as the third-greatest fullback in club history behind Joop Boekweg and Cetshwayo Ngwane.
- Dave Ashcroft - goalkeeper, wore #30. (Season 13 to Season 30) Ashcroft was signed by the team for $47,700 two weeks into Season 13. Possessing nerves of steel and quick reflexes against the air balls, he secured the team’s back-up goalkeeper position at the start of Season 17. After the retirement of Manos Torgo at the conclusion of Season 25, he became the club's starting goalkeeper. In Season 26 on July 25, 2016, Ashcroft played in his 100th legendary match; a losing 2-1 effort in the second leg of Copa Cato XIX versus Anfield Road XI. At the start of Season 28, Dave Ashcroft was voted by fans as the greatest Springboks goalkeeper, supplanting the great Thurston Alderton, as he approached the most-games mark a goalkeeper with the club. Despite playing most of his career in the shadows of François Théron and Manos Torgo, his longevity with the team as he rose up through the ranks from starting out as a 19-year-old third-stringer won him huge favour with the Loftus Versfeld supporters. On March 2, 2017, during Season 28, Dave Ashcroft played in his 120th match, setting the new club record for most career games played by a Springbok goalkeeper and breaking the legendary Thurston Alderton’s previous record of 119 career matches between the posts. Ashcroft retired at the end of Season 30 after 18 seasons and 151 matches played to his name. His final match was on March 22, 2018 when he chalked up the last of his club-record 37 shutouts as he helped blank SK Shqiponjë 4-0 at Loftus Versfeld. He left the game with a 63% career save percentage.
- Pieter van Uys - midfielder, wore #10. (Season 13 to Season 30) He was signed by the club in Season 13 for $1,179,200. A tough, calm and calculating player with a deadly shot, Van Uys spent six seasons with the reserves until he was promoted to the starting team at the beginning of Season 19, replacing veteran Stien van Buyten. Paired up with line-mate speedster Marais van der Merwe, the two hardnosed midfielders combined to form one of the toughest, punishing defensive midfield duos ever seen in Liga Mundo with their aggressive transition play in moving the ball up the field to waiting attackers. Van Uys played in his 100th legendary match during Season 21, on December 11, 2015, scoring a goal in the Springboks 6-0 rout of FC Konkrage - although he did not finish the match as he was sent off late in the game in the 88th minute after picking up his second booking in two minutes. He played in his 200th bicentennial match on January 5, 2017, three games before the end of Season 27. Van Uys scored his 100th career point (the lone goal) during the Springboks’ loss at the hands of Nordheim Badgers FC in the second round of the UCFA Champions Cup VII on October 9, 2017. Never one to slow down, Pieter van Uys continued to shine even in his final season prior to retirement, when many other veterans tend to fade away, with one of his best producing campaigns in his extensive career - scoring 13 points and earning his second consecutive berth on the Segunda Liga all-star team. He retired with 254 match appearances along with his 46 goals 115 points to his name.
- Christiaan van Schalkwyk - fullback, wore #5. (Season 16 to Season 32) Van Schalkwyk signed with the club in Season 16 as a free agent for $1,458,300. Blessed with cool wits and a deadly accurate foot on the spot kicks, even at an early age he was identified by many observers to be a potential, future skipper. After the departure of Paul Grünholz, he was named to the starting fullback line heading into Season 24 and had a breakout campaign as the main spot kicker on set plays. On March 3, 2016, he came on as a substitute at the 61-minute mark of the Springboks' 7-1 thrashing of Plymouth City FC to make his 100th career appearance. At the start of Season 27, at the urging of Cetshwayo Ngwane, who had recognised the potential of his fellow younger line-mate, Van Schalkwyk was named the sixth captain of the Springboks. He made his first appearance on the Segunda Liga All-Star team in Season 26 and followed up next season with a repeat selection to the all-stars. He was named to the All-Liga All-Star teams in three successive seasons from Season 27 to Season 29. During Seasons 29 and 30, Van Schalkwyk endured through a rough batch of injuries which saw miss couple weeks' worth of games in both seasons. One game into Season 31, Christiaan van Schalkwyk relinquished the captaincy in favour of 26-year-old midfielder Hugo Schmitt. He retired as an active player at the conclusion of the following season on January 12, 2019, with his career spanning 218 games played over 17 seasons. He departed the club as the highest scoring fullback with 42 goals and 71 points, his high totals mostly as result of his freekick and penalty set-plays.
- Yamamoto Sugoi - forward, wore #77 and previously #11. (Season 17 to Season 32) With a booming shot and excellent stamina, the Japanese-born Sugoi was signed as a reserve forward in Season 17. On May 29, 2014, during Season 19, Yamamoto Sugoi broke Balthazar Botha’s 15-season Liga Mundo record of the fastest 4 goals scored when he bagged 4 goals (non-consecutive) in a 32-minute span versus Skagafjörður Nords AFC. His record would be broken the following season in a game against Templar United when Ben Dover scored 4 goals in a span of 31 minutes. On the club's return to the Primera Liga in Season 25, Sugoi struggled all season as he failed to make a mark on goal as he was shutout all season by opposing goaltenders. However, heading into Season 26, he was named one of the starting forwards as veterans Kruger and De Beers saw their playing time reduced. Sugoi played in his 100th match September 22, 2016, a 4-1 romp over VolNation Volunteers in which he scored the go-ahead goal in the win. Yamamoto's strongest campaigns occurred in Season 28 and Season 30 when he reached double-digits for goal scoring, bagging a dozen goals in both of those seasons. He was named to his only all-star selections in Season 30, when he made both the Segunda Liga and All-Liga all-star teams. After Season 30 his performance and production began to dry up suddenly and he became more and more assigned to substitute duty. After the conclusion of Season 32, now 34 years-old, Yamamoto Sugoi announced his intention to retire after one more season, however the club decided to release him in the off-season on January 16, 2019. Over the course of 16 seasons, Sugoi played in 195 games, scoring 84 goals and 107 points.
- Riaan Strijdom - fullback, wore #3. (Season 15 to Season 33) He was signed as a promising 19-year-old free agent in Season 15. Intelligent, tough, and with a powerful outlay pass useful in moving the ball up the field, Strijdom quickly became a solid reserve fullback who saw heavy playing time as a starter during cup runs starting Season 18, for the following three seasons when he began to ascend into the starting fullback line-up. Along with Christiaan van Schalkwyk and Adriaan Spaa, the trio of young signings was groomed by management to develop into the next generation of defenders to follow the veterans Ngwane, Steyn, and Grünholz. He played in his 100th career match during Season 23 on October 15, 2015. Injuries plagued him during Season 25 which limited him to half a season of play. On his return to fulltime play, Strijdom then had four solid seasons as a high-impact, defensive wall for the Springboks. On the club's return to the Primera Liga in Season 31, his playing time decreased, going from 20 games played in Season 30 alone down to 15 appearances in his final three seasons more and more consigned to the reserves. He played one lone match in his final season of play, Season 33, before calling it a day and asking for his release on February 8, 2019.
- Marais van der Merwe - midfielder, wore #9. (Season 15 to Season 33) He signed with the club during Season 15, on August 25, 2014, for $258,300. Van de Merwe played in his 100th legendary match during Season 22 in the Springboks' semi-final victory in the second leg at Nordheim Badgers FC on May 25, 2015. An up and coming playmaker for the team, he was respected for his tough, fast physical style and coolness under pressure. On March 3, 2016, Van der Merwe bagged an impressive hat-trick (with one assist picked up and a fourth goal disallowed) during a massive personal effort over 25 minutes as the Springboks thrashed Plymouth City FC by a 7-1 scoreline in Season 24. That same season saw him take on the midfield playmaking role on a semi-regular basis and finish with his strongest production at that point of his career with 7 goals and 12 points. Heading into Season 29, his hard style of tough play made him the active career leader in Liga Mundo for yellow cards and personal bookings. Van der Merwe played in his 200th career match on August 31, 2017, a 4-2 win at home. In his penultimate season, at age 35, Van der Merwe had a stellar season - one of his best for production on the field - with 5 goals and 7 assists to lead the team in points and finish tied second in the Segunda Liga for both assists and points, and earning his first and only berth on the all-star team. His continued hard play, combined with his un-waning playmaking abilities even in his twilight years, guaranteed him a place in the hearts of homeside fans and he became one of the most popular - or feared - players to take the field in Liga Mundo for the Springboks. Van der Merwe played in his 268th and final career match on May 16, 2019, a 4-0 victory over Swamplandia Sinners. Marais van der Merwe retired ranked 5th in career appearances for Springboks midfielders and his 86 bookings placed him second overall for yellow cards.
- Dieter Schweissing - midfielder, wore #28. (Season 17 to Season 33) Signed for a paltry $440,500 in Season 17, Schweissing possessed a deadly accurate shot and firm coolness under pressure. On February 8, 2016, he made his 100th career appearance during the first leg of the Copa Cato XVII finals versus TNFR Twilight Titans FC. He endured through a couple of troublesome, injury-prone campaigns in Season 25 and Season 26 but recovered and persevered to become one of the Springboks' most present players in the seasons that followed. At the conclusion of Season 33, after 17 seasons and 249 matches with the club, Schweissing was released on May 26, 2019, the day after he had announced he would not play beyond the next season. His scoring record mirrored exactly that of Marais van der Merwe who had retired the day prior: 53 goals and 61 assists for 114 points.
- Adriaan Spaa - fullback, wore #17. (Season 17 to Season 35) A free-agent signing during Season 17 for $1,979,000, Spaa played on the reserves for his first six seasons. At the age of 24, the young speedster saw himself scecure regular playing time begin in Season 23 on account of injuries within the defensive corps. Spaa played in his 100th legendary match in the Season 27 cup opener on October 31, 2016 in which he scored his 5th career assist. A stay-at-home defender, his scoring totals were typically low with a total of 8 goals and 13 assists scored; he never had more than a pair of points in any single season. Spaa's strongest campaign came during Season 30 when he earned 12 X11 selections in 21 Segunda Liga matches. He retired at the conclusion of Season 35 after 246 games and 19 seasons played in Liga Mundo. A clean and faultless player on the defense, he was never sent off during a match and never conceded an own-goal while he had only 17 bookings on a club known for its rough style of play.
Liga Mundo All-Star Team playersEdit
The following players have been name to the Liga Mundo All-Liga All-Star Teams:
- Thurston Alderton - Season 7
- Bertrand Basson - Season 28
- Detlef Botha - Season 8; Season 9; Season 15
- Arlindo Kaká - Season 23
- Cetshwayo Ngwane - Season 15
- Hugo Schmitt - Season 30; Season 33
- Yamamoto Sugoi - Season 30
- Christiaan van Schalkwyk - Season 27; Season 28; Season 29; Season 30
The following players have been name to the Liga Mundo Primera All-Star Teams:
- Thurston Alderton - Season 5; Season 7
- Joop Boekweg - Season 4
- Balthazar Botha - Season 13
- Bismarck Botha, Jnr. - Season 31
- Detlef Botha - Season 5; Season 8; Season 9; Season 13; Season 15
- Charles Brennan - Season 4; Season 5
- Emmanuel Hörtnagl - Season 7
- Cetshwayo Ngwane - Season 15
- Matthias Rieger - Season 4; Season 5
- Stien van Buyten - Season 13
- Dick Witchge - Season 4
The following players have been name to the Liga Mundo Segunda All-Star Teams:
- Bertrand Basson - Season 28
- Paul Borlund - Season 29
- Christopher de Beers - Season 19
- Lourenço Figueroa - Season 19; Season 27
- Arlindo Kaká - Season 17; Season 23
- Jakob Kruger - Season 24
- Cetshwayo Ngwane - Season 17; Season 19; Season 21; Season 23; Season 26
- Hugo Schmitt - Season 30; Season 33; Season 34
- Eugen Schoenheist - Season 30
- Adriaan Spaa - Season 30
- Bismarck Steyn - Season 21
- Yamamoto Sugoi - Season 30
- Manos Torgo - Season 21
- Marais van der Merwe - Season 32
- Christiaan van Schalkwyk - Season 26; Season 27; Season 28; Season 29; Season 30
- Pieter van Uys - Season 29; Season 30
- Season 1 to Season 3 - Gert Grünholz (forward)
- Season 4 to Season 15 - Leon Hooiber (fullback)
- Season 15 to Season 16 - Detlef Botha (midfielder)
- Season 17 to Season 22 - Manos Torgo (goalkeeper)
- Season 23 to Season 26 - Cetshwayo Ngwane (fullback)
- Season 27 to Season 30 - Christiaan van Schalkwyk (fullback)
- Season 31 to present - Hugo Schmitt (midfielder)
|GOALKEEPER LINE-UPS BY SEASON|
|SEASON||STARTING GOALKEEPER||BACK-UP GOALKEEPER|
|Liga Mundo 1||Thanos Sietaridis||Patric Krejk|
|Liga Mundo 2||Thanos Sietaridis||Thurston Alderton|
|Liga Mundo 3||Thurston Alderton||Thanos Sietaridis|
|Liga Mundo 4 to Liga Mundo 6||Thurston Alderton||Göran von Knorring|
|Liga Mundo 7 to Liga Mundo 11||Thurston Alderton||François Théron|
|Liga Mundo 12 to Liga Mundo 13||François Théron||Lourenço Caetano|
|Liga Mundo 14||François Théron||Dave Ashcroft|
|Liga Mundo 15||François Théron||Lourenço Caetano|
|Liga Mundo 16 to Liga Mundo 24||Manos Torgo||Dave Ashcroft|
|Liga Mundo 25 to Liga Mundo 29||Dave Ashcroft||Eugen Schoenheist|
|Liga Mundo 30||Eugen Schoenheist||Dave Ashcroft|
|Liga Mundo 31 to Liga Mundo 36||Eugen Schoenheist||Hempsel van Buren|
Club record bookEdit
- Most matches played in one season: 27 games - Lourenço Figueroa (Season 19)
- Most goals in one season: 15 goals - Detlef Botha (Season 13)
- Most assists in one season: 14 assists - Detlef Botha (Season 8)
- Most points in one season: 25 points - Detlef Botha (Season 8)
- Most X11 selections in one season: Primera Liga: 12 X11 - Matthias Rieger (Season 8); Detlef Botha (Season 10 and Season 15); Segunda Liga: 18 X11 - Cetshwayo Ngwane (Season 23)
- Most cleansheets/shut-outs: 9 shut-outs - Eugen Schoenheist (Season 30)
- Most seasons: 21 seasons - Stien van Buyten (Season 1 to Season 21); Cetshwayo Ngwane (Season 7 to Season 27)
- Most career matches: 327 games - Cetshwayo Ngwane
- Most career goals: 107 goals - Detlef Botha
- Most career assists: 78 assists - Stien van Buyten
- Most career points: 184 points - Detlef Botha
- Most career X11 selections: 92 X11 - Cetshwayo Ngwane
- Most career cleansheets/shut-outs: 45 cleansheets - Eugen Schoenheist (on-going)
- Liga Mundo Season 5: Thurston Alderton, Dakarai Baako, Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen, Joop Boekweg, Balthazar Botha, Detlef Botha, Charles Brennan, Olav Froggnarson, Gert Grünholz, Leon Hooiber, Emmanuel Hörtnagl, Cuthbert McGorry, Dingiswayo Ngwane, Matthias Rieger, Henk Schot, Stien van Buyten, Ricardo van Deinsen, Bert van der Meer, Mark Verwayen, Göran von Knorring, Dick Witchge.
- Liga Mundo Season 20: UCFA Champions Cup III: Dave Ashcroft, Dési Baako, Bertrand Basson, Bismarck Botha, Jnr., Christopher de Beers, Lourenço Figueroa, Paul Grünholz, Emmanuel Hörtnagl, Arlindo Kaká, Jakob Kruger, Cetshwayo Ngwane, Adriaan Spaa, Dieter Schweissing, Bismarck Steyn, Riaan Strijdom, Yamamoto Sugoi, Manos Torgo, Marais van der Merwe, Christiaan van Schalkwyk, Stien van Buyten, Pieter van Uys, Tommy Woodward, Anton Wynand.
Liga Mundo Season 1 Primera LigaEdit
- EXPANSION ROSTER (January 12, 2008): Johann Berger, Joop Boekweg, Gert Grünholz, Huub Hoenkens, Patric Krejk, Glenn Mutsaers, Allan Pander, Henk Schot, Ricardo van Deinsen, Bert van der Meer, Martijn van der Woerdt, Merco van der Woude, Raymond van Eijk, Bram van Eijkeren, Rafael van Heijswijk, Pim Venema, Jurgen Winter, and Dick Witchge
- ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Stien van Buyten (junior prospect) signed January 14, 2008; Merco van der Woude sold for $103,152 on January 25, 2008; Rusty Hedger signed as free agent January 26, 2008; Bushunmo Fuse signed as free agent January 28, 2008; Allan Pander released January 31, 2008; Balthazar Botha (junior prospect) signed February 2, 2008; Jurgen Winter released February 5, 2008; Gijs Oesterweld signed as free agent February 8, 2008; Rusty Hedger released February 12, 2008; Thanos Sietaridis signed as free agent February 16, 2008; Pim Venema released February 19, 2008; Mark Verwayen (junior prospect) signed March 2, 2008
Liga Mundo Season 2 Primera LigaEdit
- ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Raymond van Eijk released April 13, 2008; Gijs Oesterweld released April 14, 2008; Menno Van Graejleven (junior prospect) signed April 14, 2008; Bram van Eijkeren released April 16, 2008; Knut Borgebäck signed as free agent April 16, 2008; Horace Elding signed as free agent April 19, 2008; Rafael van Heijswijk sold for $71,316 on April 26, 2008; Thurston Alderton signed as free agent June 9, 2008.
Liga Mundo Season 3 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Martijn van der Woerdt released July 15, 2008; Glenn Mutsaers released July 15, 2008; Johan Zaanbeijer (junior prospect) signed July 16, 2008; Charles Brennan signed as free agent July 18, 2008; Bushunmo Fuse sold for $500,052 on July 22, 2008; Johan Zaanbeijer released July 26, 2008; Menno Van Graejleven sold for $122,052 on July 29, 2008; Leon Hooiber signed as free agent August 28, 2008; Thanos Sietaridis sold for $924,000 on September 9, 2008; Daniel Abanda (junior prospect) signed September 20, 2008; Mirko Zilic signed as free agent September 27, 2008; Johann Berger released September 28, 2008; Matthias Rieger signed ($5,800,000) as free agent September 29, 2008.
Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Paul Nlend Wome (junior prospect) signed November 7, 2008; Huub Hoenkens released November 10, 2008; Benny Dewhurst signed as free agent November 13, 2008; Daniel Abanda released November 29, 2008; Göran von Knorring signed as free agent November 29, 2008; Patric Krejk released November 30, 2008; Olav Froggnarson signed as free agent December 17, 2008; Knut Borgebäck sold for $900,060 on January 6, 2009; Horace Elding released January 6, 2009; Paul Nlend Wome sold for $1,008,000 on January 12, 2009; Detlef Botha (junior prospect) signed January 13, 2009; Emmanuel Hörtnagl signed as free agent February 1, 2009.
Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Benny Dewhurst released February 18, 2009; Cuthbert McGorry signed as free agent on February 18, 2009; Dingiswayo Ngwane (junior prospect) signed on February 18, 2009; Mirko Zilic sold for $315,000 on February 20, 2009; Dakarai Baako signed as free agent on March 1, 2009; Dakarai Baako released May 11, 2009; Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen signed as free agent on May 13, 2009; Ricardo van Deinsen retired on June 10, 2009.
Liga Mundo Season 6 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Neil Northfield signed as free agent on June 17, 2009; Gert Grünholz released on July 9, 2009; François Théron signed as free agent on July 10, 2009.
Liga Mundo Season 7 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Bert van der Meer sold for $1,000,020 on October 29, 2009; Nathan Archibald signed as free agent on November 1, 2009; Dingiswayo Ngwane released to NVK Kaapstad Hornets on November 19, 2009; Cetshwayo Ngwane (junior prospect) signed on November 19, 2009; Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen released on January 11, 2010; Milan Bosch (junior prospect) signed on January 11, 2010; Göran von Knorring sold for $2,688,000 on January 14, 2010; Hendrik van Schou signed as free agent on January 16, 2010; Dick Witchge released on January 16, 2010; Arlindo Kaká acquired from Atlético Luz Del Mar for $850,000 on January 16, 2010
Liga Mundo Season 8 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Hendrik van Schou released on April 14, 2010; Felix Esterhuizen signed as free agent on April 15, 2010; Felix Esterhuizen released on May 20, 2010; Lourenço Caetano signed as free agant on May 21, 2010; Neil Northfield sold for $601,860 on July 22, 2010; Jakob Kruger signed (junior prospect) on July 22, 2010
Liga Mundo Season 9 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Cuthbert McGorry sold for $2,086,056 on October 18, 2010; Paul Grünholz signed as free agent on October 19, 2010; Nathan Archibald released on October 27, 2010; Bismarck Steyn signed (junior prospect) on October 31, 2010
Liga Mundo Season 10 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Olav Froggnarson sold for $2,976,036 on December 25, 2010; Kurt Neufeld signed (junior prospect) on December 25, 2010
Liga Mundo Season 11 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Kurt Neufeld released on April 13, 2011; Lourenço Figueroa acquired from Atlético Luz Del Mar for $2,200,000 on April 14, 2010; Charles Brennan released on April 15, 2011; Kanyovu Chelba signed (junior prospect) on April 15, 2011; Matthias Rieger released on May 20, 2011; Tyehimba Essien signed ($759,700) as free agent on May 22, 2011; Thurston Alderton sold to Atlético Luz Del Mar for $780,000 on July 22, 2011; Christopher de Beers signed (junior prospect) on August 4, 2011
Liga Mundo Season 12 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Kanyovu Chelba sold to Syracuse Salty Dogs for $250,000 on August 31, 2011; Baart Jantjies signed (junior prospect) on September 2, 2011; Henk Schot released on December 1, 2011; Bartnel Botha (team manager) signed a player contract on December 2, 2011; Baart Jantjies released on January 8, 2012
Liga Mundo Season 13 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Pieter van Uys signed ($1,179,200) as free agent on January 10, 2012; Tyehimba Essien released on January 10, 2012; Naas Pienaar signed (junior prospect) on January 10, 2012; Bartnel Botha released on January 19, 2012. Dave Ashcroft signed ($47,700) as free agent on January 20, 2012
Liga Mundo Season 14 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Milan Bosch sold for $4,383,120 on June 18, 2012; Dési Baako signed ($1,149,900) as free agent on June 19, 2012
Liga Mundo Season 15 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Naas Pienaar sold for $5,000,016 on September 23, 2012; Marais van der Merwe signed ($258,300) as free agent on September 26, 2012; Leon Hooiber released October 28, 2012; Riaan Strijdom signed ($370,500) as free agent on October 31, 2012; Joop Boekweg released on December 30, 2012
Liga Mundo Season 16 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Christiaan van Schalkwyk signed ($1,458,300) as free agent on January 1, 2013; Lourenço Caetano sold for $2,250,500 on February 28, 2013; Manos Torgo (former Windhoek Welwitschia player) came out of retirement and signed ($8,612,700) as free agent on March 2, 2013
Liga Mundo Season 17 Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: François Théron released on May 20, 2013; Yamamoto Sugoi signed ($357,200) as free agent on May 21, 2013; Dieter Schweissing ($440,500) and Bart Schoenaker ($47,700) signed as free agents on June 15, 2013; Adriaan Spaa signed ($1,979,000) as free agent on August 16, 2013
Liga Mundo Season 18 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Bart Schoenaker released on October 1, 2013; Bertrand Basson signed ($819,800) as free agent on October 2, 2013; Balthazar Botha released and his nephew Bismarck Botha, Jnr. signed (junior prospect) on October 6, 2013; Detlef Botha retired as a player on February 8, 2014
Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Jesse Hendriks signed (junior prospect) on February 9, 2014; Jesse Hendriks released on June 21, 2014
Liga Mundo Season 20 LM Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Anton Wynand signed (junior prospect) on June 24, 2014; Mark Verwayen released on June 29, 2014; Tommy Woodward signed ($2,870,900) as free agent on June 30, 2014; Emmanuel Hörtnagl retired as a player on November 1, 2014
Liga Mundo Season 21 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Jason King signed ($836,700) as free agent on November 7, 2014; Stien van Buyten released on December 30, 2014; Taavo Pikksalu signed ($241,000) as free agent on December 30, 2014
Liga Mundo Season 22 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: none
Liga Mundo Season 23 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Jason King released on July 5, 2015; Eugen Schoenheist signed ($2,490,500) as free agent on July 8, 2015; Paul Grünholz sold for $1,200,024 on July 28, 2015; Hugo Schmitt signed ($3,061,600) as free agent on August 1, 2015
Liga Mundo Season 24 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Tommy Woodward sold for $1,568,028 on December 19, 2015; Karl Verhoog signed ($494,900) as free agent on December 22, 2015
Liga Mundo Season 25 LM Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Taavo Pikksalu released on April 22, 2016; Jim Anderson signed ($428,600) as free agent on April 23, 2016; Dési Baako released on May 6, 2016; Paul Borlund signed ($833,400) as free agent on May 10, 2016; Manos Torgo retired as a player on July 2, 2016
Liga Mundo Season 26 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Theo Botha signed ($2,887,500) as free agent on August 31, 2016; Arlindo Kaká and Jakob Kruger retired as players on October 15, 2016
Liga Mundo Season 27 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Carl Noghot signed ($2,976,200 ) as free agent on October 18, 2016; Christopher de Beers, Lourenço Figueroa, and Cetshwayo Ngwane retired as players on January 28, 2017
Liga Mundo Season 28 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Bobby Hertzog signed ($445,800) as free agent on February 2, 2017; Johannes Roussouw signed (junior prospect) on May 8, 2017; Bismarck Steyn retired as a player on July 8, 2017
Liga Mundo Season 29 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Christof Neumann signed (junior prospect) on August 14, 2017; Hempsel van Buren signed ($354,500) as free agent on September 10, 2017; Donald ‘Stumpy’ Perkins signed ($1,543,600) as free agent on September 29, 2017
Liga Mundo Season 30 LM Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Dave Ashcroft and Pieter van Uys retired as players on April 21, 2018; Donald ‘Stumpy’ Perkins released on May 5, 2018
Liga Mundo Season 31 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: none
Liga Mundo Season 32 LM2 Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Christiaan van Schalkwyk retired as a player on January 12, 2019; Yamamoto Sugoi released on January 16, 2019.
Liga Mundo Season 33 LM2 Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Tommy Seidlitz signed ($913,900) as free agent on January 16, 2019; Msizi Bhekumbuso signed ($3,441,800) as free agent on January 16, 2019; Yamamoto Sugoi released on January 16, 2019; Riaan Strijdom released on February 8, 2019; Erasmus de Ruijter signed ($913,900) as free agent on $272,000; Marais van der Merwe retired as a player on May 26, 2019; Dieter Schweissing released on May 26, 2019.
Liga Mundo Season 34 LM2 Segunda LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Daniel Boudesteyn signed (junior prospect) on May 26, 2019; Bart Niewold signed ($2,865,800) as free agent on May 27, 2019
Liga Mundo Season 35 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Adriaan Spaa retired as a player on February 15, 2020
Liga Mundo Season 36 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Romuald de Buck signed as freed agent ($3,295,300) on February 17, 2020
Liga Mundo Season 37 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
ROSTER TRANSACTIONS: Koos Kromkamp signed as freed agent ($1,933,500) on June 27, 2020; Stephane Dupont signed (junior prospect) on June 28, 2020
Season 4 PrimeraEdit
NOVEMBER 28, 2008 - Arcadia "napping with their pants down"
“One of the best character wins in quite a long while” said Manager Bartnel Botha of the Transvaal Springboks during his post-game press conference.
“Arcadia is a cocky team that often takes us lightly because they forget that there are more than just 3 teams in the Primera – let alone the entire Liga. To beat them is always a welcome occurrence. Today was a huge victory for us. While we have stolen wins against the big three in the past, this morning’s match was just so much more gratifying because we struck back a few minutes after their early goal – and then when we lost one of our forwards to a red card midway through the second half, we not only held the Arcadians at the door, we were able to regroup a couple of minutes later and pot in the game-winner.”
“Our midfield, chronically our weakest aspect on the field, was phenomenal for us today and outplayed Arcadia’s stacked 5-man midfield line. We caught them napping with their pants down.”
“We are playing through probably our most difficult stretch in the fixtures right now, so to stay out of relegation and gain points at the expense of the stronger clubs is reinforcement towards our goal to finish in fourth place. At the very least we obviously need to avoid relegation, but after seeing the recent lacklustre performances of the two newly-promoted teams, our club feels that if we can at least split our points totals against the Big Three and walk away with 8 or 9 points – we have 3 in the bag already) and sweep against Estrella Roja, then a strong finish is possible.”
“However we need to focus one game at a time; our next Liga opponent (VolNation) we’ve had some unexpected success against but they never give us quarter so a 110% effort will be required from everyone.”
DECEMBER 5, 2008 - Springboks reach 150
Transvaal Springboks' 4-1 loss to VolNation Volunteers marked the club's 150th match played since the start of the squad in April 2007.
Since that time, the 'Boks have competed in two Transvaal World Cups, five UCFA Champions League series, and are currently in their fourth season of Liga Mundo play. While the Springboks had moderate success in the UCFA with one 1st place and two 2nd place finishes, success in the Liga Mundo has been hard to come by as the best the Transvalers have accomplished is two 5th place finishes in the top division.
In the course of 150 matches, Die Bokke have a record of 54 wins, 29 draws, and 67 losses.
Manager Bartnel Botha, who has managed the Springboks in 12 of their 20 campaigns, said the next six matches in league and cup play were the squad's easiest stretch of this season and full points from the four league fixtures must be secured should Die Bokke aim to finish mid-table.
"We are aiming for 4th place - anything better would be an outstanding success but also require a lot of luck on our part" said the manager during his post-game interview. "Meanwhile we are riding a strong cup run and hope to win our third round, which would be the farthest we'd have reached. Previously the club has not taken the cup competition too strongly, but this year we're trying to work hard and see how deep we can reach."
DECEMBER 12, 2008 - Springboks blank Gumbo Gods
Transvaal Springboks shutout the visiting Gumbo Gods 4-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria this morning. Newly-signed backstopper Göran von Knorring got the start in net but had little to do, with just 1 shot against him to deal with while Stien van Buyten, Matthias Rieger, Ricardo van Deinsen, and 16-year-old rookie Paul Nlend Wome (playing in his first league match) were the goal scorers.
Wome had played in two previous cup matches as a substitute, but today was his first league match and start. As the teenager told the press after the game: “Manager Botha told me when I was brought up from the junior team that I would not get much playing time for the first few years, even as a substitute. But he told me after practise this week that I would get to start against the winless Gumbo Gods. I am very pleased to have scored in my first league match.”
In other news, Manager Bartnel Botha has stated that the club is in negotiations to give former footballer and paramount chief Darakai Baako a try out for the final roster spot.
“After Mr. Baako’s defeat in the federal elections on December 1, he approached us about resuming his footballing career in some manner.”
Darakai Baako played with the Springboks during their UCFA campaigns and was the squad’s leading scorer in the inaugural UCFA Champions League. His stellar career came to a sudden end when he was involved in a smuggling operation in Angola and fled Transvaal for exile in PDSAR. Later he was pardoned and returned home to enter politics, successfully becoming elected African Paramount Chief in May 2008 on the coat-tails of his popularity as a domestic football star. He was trounced in the most recent elections a few weeks ago after critics chastised him for "doing absolutely nothing" during his term in office.
It is unknown which position Baako will be trying out for. “I’m versatile, I'm content to just be playing again so I’ll go wherever the manager needs me.”
JANUARY 2, 2009 - No Baako return; Elding suspended
Negotiations between Springboks club management and former noted UCFA ’Boks player Darakai Baako have fallen through, leading Manager Bartnel Botha to explain that “I seriously doubt we shall see Baako playing anytime soon, at least for this current season. We gave him a try-out but unfortunately were unable to find a suitable spot for him.”
Manager Botha also confirmed that midfielder Horace Elding will miss a month of play due to his 5-game suspension. “Horace won’t be suiting up until February” said Botha, “but I plan on using his vacancy to further develop our younger players and make some hard decisions regarding our midfield line-up. I also haven’t ruled out floating Horace on the transfer market although his suspension probably won’t make him too attractive to bidders.”
The controversial Horace Elding, one of the most penalized players ever in Liga Mundo (26 bookings during three seasons), was sent off during the Springboks’ second cup match versus VolNation Volunteers for making obscene comments and gestures about referee Fred Redkard. “I told him that if [Redkard] had one more eye, he’d be a cyclops. He took offense to that and when he showed me the red card, I asked him if he was flashing me his phone number for a date” chuckled a bemused Elding.
JANUARY 9, 2009 - Post-practise press conference
Manager Bartnel Botha spoke with the press after this morning’s practise regarding the departure this week of two ‘Boks players, Knut Borgebäck and Horace Elding. Borgebäck was sold Tuesday for R900,060 rand while Horace Elding was outright released the same day.
“Knut had been with the club since Season 2 but he had become the odd-man out on our defense. I felt that we could probably get some cash for him on the transfer market and then turn around and either sign a younger replacement or rely on promising 19-year-old Olav Froggnarson as the reserve defence.”
“As for Horace Elding, his lengthy suspension pretty much made him redundant as he would miss 5 of our 6 remaining matches. And at 35 years old, there was no guarantee either he would re-sign with us. The club management felt that his frequent bookings had worn out his effectiveness as a playmaker and goals scorer. Sure he may have potted in a few key goals for us – but one must ask how many games did he cost us?”
Manager Botha also stated that one of the forwards had been placed on the transfer market but would not confirm whom.
As to the outlook for the rest of the season, the manager told media that “we have three critical matches coming up and three from which any points at all would be considered a bonus. At this time it is unsure whether we shall field our strongest squad to attempt to contest these tilts for points against the Big Three - or just accept them as foregone defeats and utilise our younger players to gain them valuable playing experience. A lot depends on what our projected finish looks like in the coming weeks. If we are not facing relegation, then the opportunity for our developmental players improves.”
The Springboks have not played a league match in almost three weeks with back-to-back byes, but that downtime has not distracted the coaching staff. “We probably have the best form seen on our squad all season.”
JANUARY 12, 2009 - Springboks get million rand transfer
Transvaal Springboks received their first one-million rand offer for a player when 16-year-old Paul Nlend Wome was sold for $1,008,000.
“I am quite pleased – actually, quite surprised - with the quality of the offer. With six forwards, Wome wasn’t going to see much playing time, if at best 3 games this season, to put in the time, money, and effort to develop him. Ultimately we looked at what he had the potential to bring to the table, and we figured that we could easily find someone just as suitable right now on the market if need be. So we floated him on the transfer market to see if anyone would bite. To our pleasant surprise, we received three offers.”
Paul Nlend Wome was brought up through the junior programme and had played in two matches and netting one goal before being dealt by Manager Botha. He had the distinction of being the youngest player (to date) to don the green and orange in any match. He was also the Springboks’ second player of colour, the first being forward Bushunmo Fuse who played in the ’Boks’ first two seasons and lead in team scoring in Transvaal's first season.
Manager Bartnel Botha also added that “…we have given up interest in signing Dakarai Baako as he has since informed me he now plans on trying out for the expansion Windhoek Welwitschia in the Vedder League.”
JANUARY 13, 2009 - Botha Brothers re-united
The Transvaal Springboks announced this evening that Detlef Botha, younger brother of forward Balthazar Botha, has been promoted to the senior team from the juniors. The two brothers last played together over four years ago when Balthazar was still on the junior squad and Detlef was a 15-year old trial prospect brought up to the Juniors from the Minor programme.
Nineteen year-old Detlef Botha joins the Springboks midfield corps and will jump into the role of spot kicker – an area of talent Die Bokke have been lacking in for a couple of seasons. Manager Bartnel Botha – no relation to the two brothers – had this to say about the latest signing: “Detlef has already been written in for a start this Friday against the Gumbo Gods and I am looking forward to seeing what he brings to our team. He has been a tough, fundamental player for the junior side and his addition comes at a perfect time for us as I am in the midst of retooling our midfield.”
The junior signing now brings into question the roles of midfielders Henk Schot and Mark Verwayen, both who have been with the ’Boks since Season 1 (Schott is one of five original ’Boks still remaining). There have been rumours from the clubhouse that Manager Botha had also recently put out an offer for a spotkicker midfielder just prior to Detlef Botha’s release from the Junior Springboks. If the transfer offer is successful, then it is inevitable that either Schot or Verwayen will get the cut. While the speedy 25-year old Schot is somewhat more experienced than Verwayen, the younger (21 years) Verwayen has also been showing much promise the past two seasons. What is for sure is that carrying seven midfielders would be not feasible for finding adequate playing time – unless the squad perhaps went with a 5-midfield formation.
JANUARY 16, 2009 - Die Bokke massacre Gumbo Gods 7-1
The Springboks pulled off their most lopsided victory today at the Penske Center, when Transvaal defeated the hapless Gumbo Gods 7-1. The six-goal margin of victory is the highest ever from any Springboks match.
Forward Balthazar Botha, energised from playing alongside his younger brother Detlef who was making his senior debut, hammered the ball home for four goals in a row during a 36 minutes span in the first-half.
Midfielder Stien van Buyten set up Balthazar for a breakaway five minutes from the opening whistle. Eight minutes later, brother Detlef Botha crossed the ball for Balthazar to head it clean past Gumbo keeper Eric Rothwell. Three minutes later, a foul in the Transvaal penalty area allowed Adrien Whittle to pot in a rare goal from the penalty kick for Gumbo Gods, only their fourth tally of the entire season.
The ’Boks went up 3-1 at the 32-minute mark when Balthazar connected on a Dick Witchge pass to head in his natural hat-trick – then four minutes before the half whistle, he notched his fourth in a row from a penalty kick.
Transvaal then began to run away with the lead during the second half of the match as newcomer Detlef Botha and veterans Gert Grünholz and Dick Witchge shellacked a shellshocked Rothwell to round out the final result at 7-1.
“It was a pretty sad affair” commented Manager Bartnel Botha after the game. “To see this kind of result in first division football is shocking. I gave all our third-liners and juniors the starting nod, and prior to kick off I admit I wondered if we were perhaps taking them too lightly and it could in fact backfire in our face. We expected a strong result, but certainly nothing like this – especially with arguably our least talented line-up of the season, certainly on the attack. You have to feel for the handful of fans who stuck around to the very end… I suppose perhaps a morbid curiosity to see just how bad it could get.”
The match was notable as all midfielders and forwards chalked up at least 1 point, with all but two notching at least 2 points.
The next outing for Transvaal Springboks features a friendly meeting with Voobaha National at Loftus Versfeld. Said Botha: “This match was arranged for two reasons – namely, to gauge comparison between a strong Segunda and an original Primera side. As well, both clubs have some South African heritage in the ownership – so we are billing this as the first of a two-game meeting between us in what we are billing the South African Cup. Hopefully we can make it an annual event.
JANUARY 24, 2009 - Transvaal shocks VolNation 2-0
The Springboks chalked up another home win against VolNation on Friday, shutting out the Volunteers 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld.
“VolNation Volunteers are definitely the class of the league year in year out, but for some reason we’ve actually chalked up a few wins against them here at home” said an obviously pleased Manager Botha after the match.
“In the past, our results here at home against them have been relatively good, although close matches in which one goal is the decider. Our away form against then has been atrocious. My theory on why both teams don’t do well at the other’s home grounds is the time difference and the long flight from Neyland to Pretoria takes a toll on the players.”
“Now that all said, this year our previous three meetings [1 league, 2 cup] have been all one-sided definitely in their favour, so I am pleased beyond belief with the result on the pitch today. Our players played smartly, and while we did not have ball advantage, we made the most of our possession and fired off more shots than they did. Our defense held firm and out-classed them while our midfield and forwards matched them pretty evenly.”
“I think we also caught them off-guard by not playing our traditional formation, I decided to take the risk with something we don’t normally do and it seemed to pay off.”
Transvaal Springboks now go on the road for two tough matches against Arcadia FC and Atlético Luz Del Mar before finishing out the season at home against Estrella Roja.
“Those two tilts will be tough for us. I know for a fact that Arcadia is still smarting from their first loss ever to us back in November and will be out there playing hard for revenge. As for ALDM, there’s a team which since Season 2 even more so than VolNation has given us a ton of trouble. They have a phenomenal defensive corps which can smother out the opposition.”
JANUARY 25, 2009 - VolNation Stuffed By Transvaal
When you ask a VolNation Mighty Volunteer fan which game of the season they are most anxious about, you'd think that you'd get a Big Three response. However, every fan will tell you that it is the Transvaal match in Loftus Versfeld Stadium that gets them the most uptight. A check of the history shows that VolNation has never won here in league play, which made this match such a big one in VolNation's quest for a fourth straight title. Once again, though, history rears its head at the Mighty Vols, and the Mighty Vols were just unable to overcome, dropping a 2-0 loss at the worst possible time.
Form issues were really hitting the VolNation back line, which forced Coach Philip to start a back-up keeper and some defenders that really had no business on the pitch. The hope was that the midfield could cover and Robertson and Goodwin could capatalize on some shots, but Transvaal was able to really take advantage of the Mighty Vols weaknesses. While the Mighty Vols dominated possesion, it was Transvaal who got the opportunities, and welcomed the newcomer Rojas into the league with a baptism by fire. Rojas was simply not Sørgård, and two got through.
Meanwhile, in contrast to the shakiness of Rojas, Thurston Alderton was spectacular. In the last few matches against Transvaal, the VolNation forwards were able to have their way with him, but not tonight. Alderton shone tonight in stopping some wicked shots and the three-man defensive line got a lot of credit in not letting the Mighty Vols get many good shots.
All in all, while hopes were high in reversing this losing trend, the Mighty Vols were just not up to the task. Now, all they can do is wait to see what pans out.
JANUARY 30, 2009 - A successful season
Manager Bartnel Botha told the press after this morning’s match against Arcadia FC that the season has been “…an unqualified success for us” even though there are still two games left in the regular season.
Due to VolNation’s late victory today versus Estrella Roja, the Springboks have clinched at least a fourth place finish in the Primera – “which was our goal since the start of this season. We have a very slim chance to take third place but that would require three upsets, all of which I do not envisage occurring” said the manager.
Regarding today’s defeat, the manager had little to comment except that… “we knew it was going to be a real tough contest for us, and in all likelihood the better team won today. We were unable to anticipate their game and thus we spent most of the match playing catch-up. However it wasn’t a blow-out like we’ve seen in previous seasons between our two clubs, so I’ll take the one-goal-loss in stride.”
Bad news struck the Springboks very early on when veteran, original ’Bok Gert Grünholz left the game on a stretcher just five minutes from the opening whistle. “Gert is gone for the rest of this season and probably into the start of the next.”
The injury was a tough setback for Grünholz, who had struggled all last season to regain his captaincy form he displayed in the first two seasons for the Springboks – only to see his strong comeback progress this campaign come crashing down from sudden injury.
“Gert has suffered for playing minutes this season but nevertheless had been making the most of his limited playing time and putting the ball in when he can. We were actually expecting to see some improvement over the off-season despite his age. He actually wasn’t supposed to start today but he was literally a last minute switch for Benny Dewhurst.”
Manager Botha confirmed that he had one final offer on the blocks for the transfer deadline. “We’re trying to bring in a chap by the name of Emmanuel Hörtnagl, who at one time used to play in our domestic league for Johannesburg. The Botha brothers know him well and suggested that we try to pick him up on transfer. He plays for an amateur side somewhere in Europe – but he should be a good fit for our midfield if we can get him.”
According to clubhouse rumours, the manager plans on over-hauling the ’Boks’ midfield corps in the off-season once progress reports on performance come in.
FEBRUARY 5, 2009 - A look ahead to Season 5?
With three games remaining – two league matches and a friendly versus expansion team Compostela Artois – and baring some major upsets the Transvaal Springboks almost guaranteed to finish the Primera Liga in fourth place, Transvaler Daaglikse Sportnuus sat down with Springboks manager Bartnel Botha to discuss what he saw on the drawing board as the club headed into Season 5:
“Once our coaching staff has completed their player assessment reports on player development from the off-season, I will be examining points in our roster where we can strengthen ourselves. I will be taking a long, hard look at our midfield line and making some difficult decisions to further consolidate and fortify it.”
“We have two anchors in Dick Witchge and Matthias Rieger, arguably two of the best midfielders playing in the league this season – both are having strong seasons. After that we have five players jostling for 2 to 3 remaining spots depending on what formation we go with. Emmanuel Hörtnagl has only just joined us while Detlef Botha is a definite keeper. I can see him over time evolving into another Dick Witchge once Dick is retired.”
“So that leaves Stien van Buyten, Henk Schot, and Mark Verwayen – all who have been with us since Season 1. I am eagerly awaiting to see just how much they will improve over the off-season. Their future with the club is interlinked and really depends on how they have all progressed in relation to each other, who has and who hasn’t between them. I also haven’t ruled out cutting two loose and then finding something on the transfer market. It’s going to be very interesting to say the least.”
As for the forwards and defence, Manager Botha did not see much change happening with them.
“It’s possible we might contemplate moving one of our forwards who isn’t getting much playing time, but that will also depend on how Gert Grünholz recovers from his injuries.”
Season 5 PrimeraEdit
FEBRUARY 16, 2009 - Improved Springboks gearing up
The strongest campaign yet for Transvaal Springboks combined with a strict training regimen throughout the season has paid off with massive dividends, as the club management reported tonight that all but two players increased in +/- skill and nine players went up by one full skill level. One player decreased and one remained unchanged.
“The results of the performance assessment today were beyond our expectations” said an ecstatic Manager Bartnel Botha. “It drastically changes our off-season planning now as we were expecting to make one perhaps two player moves. However at this point I’m thinking we might just sit with what we have and make any moves closer to the transfer deadline next season.”
“Or we’ll ride the current roster and then go for a big-name signing in Season 7.”
The most noticeable improvement came in the midfield, traditionally a chronic problem area for strength. “We went up 4 points there, which was also where we were planning on making the most critical moves” said the manager.
Goalkeeping increased by 1 level, while defense and forwards increased by 2 points each. The only players which didn’t see any improvement were Mirko Zilic, the 35-year-old defender and 34-year-old fan favourite and original ’Bok Gert Grünholz. “Unfortunately Gert’s performance was hampered by his untimely injury, but we were actually expecting him to decrease – which he didn’t, as he has been responding well to injury rehab. As for Zilic, his playing days are drawing to a close, so he was expected to drop.”
FEBRUARY 16, 2009 - Dewhurst wants out; Zilic shopped around
Benny Dewhurst asked club management today to put him on the transfer list. Apparently the forward, who played in seven matches this past season, does not see his playing time improving.
“Last season Balthazar Botha, Gert Grünholz and myself were all competing for the same starting spot – but it seems that Balthazer will be moving into it full time next season. While Gert seems content to wind down his career with most of his playing time on the sidelines as a substitute, I’d rather see what my chances are elsewhere.”
Added to the transfer list was Mirko Zilic, the 35-year-old fullback who switched with Leon Hooiber for the usual third defensive spot. With Hooiber and the quiet force Joop Boekweg making noticeable strides this year in their performance, and 20-year-old Olav Froggnarson nipping in the wings, the club has said they want to try and move Zilic while they can still hopefully get something for him.
“Don’t get me wrong, Zilic is a good defender but at his age, he’d be better used on another club needing some temporary advantage in making a promotion or cup run.”
“With Olav Froggnarson, a Norwegian immigrant who signed in December with the club and played in two matches and a bundle full of talent waiting on the sidelines just itching to get in playing time, by shipping Zilic we can then focus on Froggnarson seeing more playing time if we lose guys to injury or face a weaker opponent. Under some good training guidance, this youngster could easily develop into the club’s best defensive utility player two to three seasons from now.
“People talk about Bert van der Meer as being our keystone on defense, well just you wait and see what Froggie turns out to be like. His idol is none other than Lois Luis - and it shows why in practise...”
FEBRUARY 17, 2009 - Kak Cup
Transvaal Springboks and Arcadia FC will face off in the first-ever Kak Cup, a best of three series featuring the worst line-ups possible between the two clubs. The concept behind Kak Cup is to give the fringe players some playing time to boost their form and experience in prime positions as well as to see how different the results are when played with weak(er) squads.
The opening match is this Friday morning at Arcadian Stadium with the re-match played at Loftus Versfeld the following week.
FEBRUARY 18, 2009 - Busy day for 'Boks on transfer line
With Benny Dewhurst and Mirko Zilic released or soon to be sold for cash, the Springboks made further move towards more youth with two additions to their defensive reserve ranks when 20-year-old Cuthbert McGorry was signed as a free agent while 16-year-old Zulu junior prospect Dingiswayo Ngwane was promoted to the senior club.
“These two players were signed with the future in mind” explained Manager Bartnel Botha. “I wasn’t planning on making any drastic changes to our starting eleven but with Dewhurst and Zilic now on their way out, we had the room and money to acquire the services of some talented youngsters.”
“While I was casually scanning the latest transfer wires, McGorry’s name popped up out of the blue as having just too much going for him to pass up on. We anticipate him paired up with Olav Froggnarson to develop into the core of our defense in three seasons’ time.”
“Dingiswayo Ngwane is a raw youngster that will become a work in progress for the next two to three seasons - but he also has the potential to become a calming presence on defense.”
Ngwane becomes only the third player of colour signed by the Springboks and observers are watching him with a cautious eye in light of the recent Paul Nlend Wome tragedy to see if he can secure a long-term spot on a squad dominated by Europeans.
“I could have tried out for Windhoek Welwitschia, but I want to prove that Africans can play with the very best - here in Liga Mundo” said Ngwane when besieged by reporters after practice this evening.
Both McGorry and Ngwane have already been given starts in the upcoming Kak Cup series versus Arcadia FC. “I want to see what they can do when put up against one of the best teams in the league” said Botha.
FEBRUARY 20, 2009 - Die Bokke played like ‘kak’
The Springboks were shutout 3-0 by Arcadia FC in the first match of the Kak Cup. Manager Bartnel Botha claimed the loss was due to “poor form” prevalent throughout the roster.
“I’m not sure just how irregular and weakened Arcadia’s line-up was, but after our huge skill increase all of our players save for two ended up having poor form. Combine poor form with a line-up consisting of reserve players for starters, and no small wonder we left Arcadian Stadium on the wrong side of three goals.”
Back-up keeper Göran von Knorring got only his fourth start while the defence featured two brand-new acquisitions making their debut in the bottle green and orange sweaters.
“Our midfield consisted of four youngsters who in future seasons will form a formidable backbone for the team” – however the most glaring weakness was in the offense.
“In respect of what the Kak Cup is intended to be, we sat out Charles Brennan and had Ricardo van Diensen watching from the sidelines. However we had only one healthy forward to suit up, as an injured and hobbling Gert Grünholz was pressed into emergency service and defenseman Olav Froggnarson moved up to the attack.”
The second leg of the best-of-three tournament will move now to Loftus Versfeld.
MARCH 2, 2009 - Dakarai Baako returns to ‘Boks
Manager Bartnel Botha confirmed today that controversial UCFA Springbok forward and former Transvaler African politician Dakarai Baako has signed with the Springboks. Baako was released yesterday by his previous club Windhoek Welwitschia for undisclosed reasons; performing in only one match for the Wels during which he was suspended.
“I know a few weeks ago I said that there was no place for Mr. Baako, however since the departure of Benny Dewhurst we had one spot open up on our forward line and he expressed interest in taking it” said Manager Botha at the press conference.
“I am here to play football!” said the flamboyant Dakarai Baako to his fans waiting for autographs after the press conference. “I appreciate the Welwitschias giving me a starting place to play, but I did not see myself fitting in there as the eighth midfielder on a midfield-heavy squad. I asked Manager Botha to re-consider his earlier decision not to sign me. I told him that Liga Mundo is the place to play football and I wanted to be a part of it. He said that the club would take me on as long as I did not cause any disruptions and use my place on the team as a soapbox for politicking.”
Dakarai Baako was a veteran of the UCFA Springbok squads but his political career and personal off-field problems with the law prevented him from making the transition from UCFA to Liga Mundo when the Springboks joined the league.
Asked whether we could regain his famed scoring prowness of his UCFA days, Mr. Baako shrugged and replied “I have to play it one game at a time.”
MARCH 10, 2009 - Die Bokke win season opener
The Transvaal Springboks pulled off a convincing 3-0 win against Estrella Roja yesterday afternoon at Loftus Versfeld. The match was the first time in club history the ’Boks had won their season opener.
All scoring for the victorious home side occurred in the second half – with two goals coming off corner set-plays. The first goal was scored at 65 minutes when Ricardo van Deinsen connected on a Dick Witchge pass after the midfielder had been fed the ball by cornerman Detlef Botha.
Five minutes later, after Detlef Botha left the match injured, his substitute Emmanuel Hörtnagl then had to step up for the corner kicking duties at 85 minutes. Although not noted for his freekicking abilities, Hörtnagl lobbed the ball deftly through traffic to a ready and waiting Mathias Rieger on the penalty crease, who then made quick work to boot the ball in past Estrella Roja keeper Michel Raskenstam.
Seven minutes later, Raskenstam then came up short when Charles Brennan sized him up on a one-on-one breakaway to score Transvaal’s third tally and put the game beyond the reach of the visitors.
“This was a great team effort today where we made the most of the few chances we had” said Manager Bartnel Botha. “Estrella Roja played a real tight defensive game to limit our chances to five shots, so to bag three goals from those opportunities shows the character and skill of our offense today.”
“My only cause for concern was Detlef re-injuring himself. He pulled his hamstring in our friendly versus Duckies last week but the doctors had cleared him yesterday. He will likely sit out next week as I need him back at 100% when we begin our grueling three-game series against the Big Three teams in the later half of the month.”
Manager Botha also told the press that it was “highly likely” former-UCFA Champions League star Dakarai Baako would make his Liga Mundo debut next week when the Springboks hit the road to take on the Swamplandia Sinners.
MARCH 16, 2009 - ’Boks head into uncharted territory
“That we are sitting with six points after two matches doesn’t surprise me much – however, being alone at the top of the table does. It’s quite shocking really, something I never expected...”
Those were the first words of Manager Botha during this morning’s post-game conference at Purgatory Palace after the Transvaal Springboks defeated the hometown Swamplandia Sinners 3-0. Charles Brennan scored twice and Ricardo van Deinsen once while Thurston Alderton picked up his second clean sheet in a row.
“I expected a win against Swamplandia, although admittedly a much closer result than what we walked away with as MudBug’s crew have always proven a troublesome opponent for us over the seasons. But seeing the Big Three teams performing sub-par the past couple of weeks is really alarming – especially since our next three league matches are all against Big Three sides.”
“I have told our boys not to get their hopes up and think just because we are sitting in first place that means we can slack off. The next three weeks in the league will be our biggest tests yet as we’ve never done well on the road versus the Big Three. No doubt they will all be gunning to reverse their fortunes in the table at our expense.”
“To our own benefit, we haven’t even seen our top line-up out there yet. I’ve been inserting second-liners here and there so as to give them some playing time as well as let a couple of our key vets rest up from injuries and recover poor form in time for the three upcoming clashes.”
MARCH 20, 2009 - Shorthanded ‘Boks win cup match on road
Playing down a forward for almost half the match after Charles Brennan was ejected, the Transvaal Springboks fought back for a 2-1 win in their first cup match of the season against new Segunda side Kelville FC. The teams meet for the second round next week at Loftus Versfeld.
Captain Dick Witchge got the Primera leaders on the scoreboard 13 minutes into the game after defender Joop Boekweg boomed a clearing pass up the centre. Unlucky thirteen reared its head 13 minutes later when Barney Logan headed the ball past ’Boks keeper Thurston Alderton to even the scoring at one-all.
Disaster struck early in the second half when Charles Brennan was ejected from the game. Now faced playing short-manned for the long haul and on the road against a plucky opponent, the Springboks midfielders stepped up their pressure as they put up a defensive wall to deny the Kelville forwards the ball as Alderton faced 5 shots – all of them in the first half.
Stien van Buyten, who is having a break-out campaign and finally settling into a veteran role after four seasons as a second-tier player, struck back fast and hard against Kelville when Matthias Rieger set him up for a close shot in the penalty area.
With the slim lead, the ’Boks defensive game was key as they clung on for the road win.
“Today’s match was another character win, losing Brennan so early in the match could have been what shot us in the foot, however our midfield out-hustled theirs and was the factor in the win. I’m really pleased as historically our midfield was our weakest part, it’s nice to see them now often being our strongest factor. That all said, but this game was by hard our most difficult challenge and it only goes uphill after this.”
Transvaal now faces struggling Arcadia FC in what many are billing the match of the week. Arcadia FC has been on a surprising skid after being billed the team to beat and will now be fired up to take their frustrations out on the ’Boks – while Die Bokke will be looking to one-up a side that has often given nothing but contemptuous disrespect to the boys in green and orange.
“Of the Big Three sides, beating Arcadia would be the sweetest victory of all because they more than any other side are a cocky bunch. God as my witness I hate them and it’s great to see Courtney and the rest of them being knocked down to size. And, I would so love our team to be a part of that” said midfield spotkicker Detlef Botha in the dressing room after the match.
MARCH 24, 2009 - “Met God so my getuie haat ek hulle…”
“With God as my witness, I hate them…” Those fateful words, uttered last week by midfielder Detlef Botha when asked about the upcoming match against Coach Courtney’s crew, hung over the Springboks yesterday like cloud of impending doom as they made their way to Arcadian Stadium.
Would the boastings of a 20-year-old second-year player jinx his teammates – or galvanise them?
Thankfully for Die Bokke’s faithful, those boastful words were exactly what were needed to spark Transvaal to arguably one of the club’s biggest wins ever as the Springboks defeated Arcadia FC 3-1 while on the road. Only once before has Transvaal been able to overcome the talented Arcadian side in thirteen outings – and never leaving Arcadian Stadium with a single point… until yesterday morning.
And a key factor in that victory was the man at the centre of the verbal jousting – Detlef Botha himself – as the tough-minded midfielder scored the go-ahead goal and picked up one assist to go along with his first-ever X11 selection.
Heading into the match, there was some concern over attacking formation as forward Charles Brennan was forced to sit out a one-game suspension accrued from the cup match versus Kelville United. Balthazar Botha got his first start of the season but never looked out of place as he got the Springboks on the scoreboard around 9 minutes into the first half.
At the end of the first half, the score line was Botha Brothers 2, Arcadia FC 1. Dick Witchge would bag the ’Boks’ third tally in the middle of the second half when Detlef Botha set him up from a freekick set-play.
Despite a disadvantage of possession, the Springboks lead in shots on net with 8 for Arcadia’s 5. Keeper Thurston Alderton saw his clean sheet streak stopped but nevertheless walked away with man-of-the-match honours as well as garnering X11 selection in the Primera for the third week in a row.
After the final whistle, on-field officials and stadium stewards made for Detlef Botha in case he tried to use the win to further provoke the Arcadian crowd - however the heavy security was not required as he amicably waved to some fans wearing ’Boks colours and then quietly took time out to sign autographs for Transvaler and Arcadian fans alike before leaving the pitch.
Next up on the slate for Transvaal is the second-leg cup match against Kelville United at Loftus Versfeld – although cup competition is under review by the club.
“Depending on whom we’d play in the next round, we may decide to tank our cup effort this year if we make it past Kelville” stated Manager Bartnel Botha to the Arcadian and Transvaler press after the match.
“This is the first season where we have been in a strong position to challenge for the league championship, so each and every game is now important. There aren’t any teams at all we can afford to take lightly in the Primera, so the question has arisen ‘how will we find playing time for our junior signings?’ We may just use those matches in the next round as experience for them and not worry about the results or the cup this year. Each week our focus has been narrowing down on making a strong league run.”
MARCH 24, 2009 - ‘Boks plan to tank quarter-finals
Springboks manager Bartnel Botha confirmed comments reported in Transvaler Daaglikse Nuus that baring injuries the Primera leading side will tank the Cup quarterfinals should they make it past Kelville United later this week.
“As much as it pains me to harm our cup chances, our recent success has simply caught our club off-guard in what was supposed to be the first of two building and consolidation seasons. We have the players we want for the long haul - but for our club to have longterm success, we need to develop our youngsters and the only way that will happen is to give them playing time. However, with the Primera so tight for competition with no free wins, given one choice or the other, our boys have unanimously chosen to focus on Liga performance and the future at the expense of cup glory today. Our goal is still fourth place but will ride the tide and see where it lands us.”
“I won’t comment on what kind of line-up we would field except that it would involve a lot of second-line players and back-up keeper Göran von Knorring would get all cup starts in the quarter-final round.”
MARCH 30, 2009 - Springboks weary from road trips
Watching the Springboks make their way slowly through the airport in Franzharia for their quarterfinal cup match Friday against FC Franzharia, their dejected appearance would fool anyone from realising they had just come off their two biggest wins this season. Rather, they looked like the walking dead from a battlefield.
“It’s been awhile since we played at home, the wear and tear of travel is starting to catch up with us” said defender Olav Froggnarson as he hobbled his way along on crutches.
The fatigue showed in many of the Boks’ top stars, reinforcing Manager Bartnel Botha’s decision to field a sub-par squad against FC Franzharia. “Our defense is still looking pretty good, but our midfield and forwards have been taking a battering” said Dick Witchge, another of the walking wounded. “It’s our style to play bone-crunching football, but after a while it does catch up to you.”
Previous to their arrival in Franzharia, the Springboks had pulled off another upset at the expense of the Big Three by defeating the VolNation Volunteers 2-1 at Neyland, the win there a first-ever for Transvaal in five seasons – although Detlef Botha downplayed the win by saying “until we beat ALDM next week, then we’re still the Primera bridesmaids to the Big Three as far as I’m concerned. That win against VolNation was a fluke, we may have outshot them but we somehow stole victory from the jaws of defeat... in all honesty they should have run roughshod over us as we were playing on fumes from our earlier tough match against the Skirts” – ‘skirts’ being some sort of sideways reference to Arcadia FC’s female coaching staff.
Veteren defender Bert van der Meer put it a little more diplomatic: “As far as most of us are concerned, the Big Three are still the class of the league and until they are beaten, they remain as such. We’re all enjoying our time in the first place spotlight but at some point we’re going to slip – this is after all a year of consolidation for us. The pieces are all there, but we are still a little raw. What is really exciting about our current 7-game winning streak [edit: going back to last season] is if we are over-performing now, imagine what this crew will be like next season and those that follow? Many of our youngsters, like the Botha brothers and Stien van Buyten are taking commanding roles on the field. Mark Verwayen has been on the fringes the last couple of seasons but is making the most of his time and played a great game against VolNation.”
Van der Meer then laughed, adding: “I just hope there’s still a place for me!”
APRIL 3, 2009 - ’Boks shrug off loss to FC Franzharia
Transvaal Springboks suffered its first defeat of the season when they dropped a 4-1 cup decision to FC Franzharia. Gert Grünholz scored from a penalty kick in the 65th minute to tally the lone goal for Die Bokke. FC Franzharia scored off an early corner conceded in the opening minute of the match. Sloppy and disinterested play from the Springboks continued to Franzharia’s second goal and the field opened up for the home side when Dakarai Baako was booked for his brutal play and sent off. The booking was not well-received by some, as one unidentified, disgruntled player was heard to chirp that ‘Baako is useless even when we’re not trying...’
In his post-match press conference, Manager Bartnel Botha shrugged off the loss, saying that “The result should surprise no one – least of all ourselves. We had already told people that we weren’t going to take this match seriously.”
The Springboks now return home to Loftus Versfeld to regroup and take on Atlético Luz Del Mar – hoping to pull off a three-game sweep of the vaunted Big Three.
APRIL 6, 2009 - Shortmanned ‘Boks draw ALDM 2-2
Transvaal hosted Atlético Luz del Mar in a tight match at Loftus Versfeld this morning and walked away with a 2-2 draw despite finishing with ten men. Detlef Botha was booked and sent off for injuring Rodrigo Abreu while the Springboks were down 2-1 however around ten minutes later forward Ricardo van Deinsen bagged his second goal of the match. Abreu scored both goals for ALDM before Detlef Botha cheap-shot Abreu to take him down and out of the game. “He was becoming a threat to us so I played him hard” said Botha from the sidelines after being sent off.
While some fans were disappointed at the result, one of the most evenly matched and close meetings with ALDM since Season 1, Manager Bartel Botha was upbeat: “Looking back at our last three matches, to gain 7 out 9 points from the Big Three – 6 of those points coming from on the road - and concede only 1 point in return... am I happy? You bet I am!”
Transvaal hosts FC Franzharia in a cup draw Thursday and then faces their first league meeting versus promoted SiPS next week. Tickets prices for Thursday’s match have been slashed as poor attendance is anticipated as the ‘Boks are expected to field a weak squad to simply go through the motions of providing opposition.
“Göran von Knorring will get his second start in net and the rest of the line-up will be younger players and second-stringers – but we’re going to mix things up a little” said Manager Botha. “Our focus right now is on preparing for SiPS and getting our form back up. These recent weeks have been a strain on us.”
APRIL 13, 2009 - Botha Brothers take down SiPS
At Loftus Versfeld this morning, Transvaal defeated SiPS 4-2 with the Botha Brothers scoring three of the Springboks’ goals and the fourth coming as an own-goal by SiPS captain Hessu Öörni.
Detlef Botha got Transvaal on the scoreboard after hammering home a free kick past SiPS goalkeeper Matias Hammevik in the second minute of the match. SiPS then leveled out the score when Hessu Öörni booted a penalty kick past Thurston Alderton around ten minutes later. The visitors then took a rare lead against the Primera leaders when Pasi Viuhko was set up by Öörni on a corner at the 27th minute. SiPS then ran with the lead for the rest of the half although Transvaal was leading with shots and possession.
Action in the second half was fairly quiet until the 58th minute when Charles Brennan set up Balthazar Botha for a close try against Hammevik to score and cancel out the SiPS lead. One minute later, Joop Boekweg took possession after the kick off and booted the ball down to a ready and waiting Balthazar Botha, who then launched a long-range shot against a dazed Hamervik.
Nine minutes later, the Springboks gained a two-goal lead when Hessu Öörni fumbled the ball into his own net. The final score was 4-2 with Transvaal bombarding Hamervik for 11 shots versus 5 for the visiting Finns.
“I was fairly confident that we could beat them today” said Manager Bartnel Botha. “SiPS were the only team in our five pre-season games that we managed to get a win against and currently they seem to be in a slump right now in the standings.”
Next up for the Springboks is the mid-season back-to-back series against newcomers 1984 Duckies FC.
“This is a series which we are taking very seriously because the Duckies have been making an excellent run in the Primera against the Big Three and can pose a threat to our lead in the Primera. If we can win both matches, then it should give us some breathing room at the top - but I don’t plan to take them lightly and we shall be out in full force with our characteristic crunching style. I’m really glad that we face them first on their own turf as it puts more pressure on them.”
APRIL 28, 2009 - Springboks go Duckie hunting
Trasnvaal Springboks scored a 2-0 win over 1984 Duckies FC at Loftus Versfeld yesterday morning.
Ricardo van Diensen scored from a shot close in against Duckies keeper Claus Holten at the 65th minute to put Die Bokke on the scoreboard first. Twenty-five minutes later and down a man after Gert Grünholz had been sent off, midfielder Henk Schot bagged a long-range shot in the final minute of regulation to seal the deal.
The victory, coupled with a 3-0 loss by Estrella Roja, gave Transvaal a 6 point lead in first place.
As Manager Botha explained afterwards, “we’ve been playing kind of flat lately, but the boys improved their form leading up to the match and it was good preparation for a tough triple-header re-match coming up in two weeks against the Big Three. Those matches will pretty much determine if we will end up taking the championship this season. We face a struggling SiPS squad next week so we’re hoping to use that as a springboard to fire us up and come out hard against the always-dangerous Atlético Luz del Mar on the road the following week.”
MAY 4, 2009 - Khomasdal new home for Die Bokke
Springboks manager and Minister of Sport & Athletics Bartnel Botha announced today that future home games for the Transvaal Springboks will be played at Khomasdal Stadium, home field for Windhoek Welwitschia of the Vedder League, for the duration of the Karma War which has engulfed Transvaal.
Namibia, a province of the Federal Republic, has been relatively untouched by the invasion of South Africa. The Khomasdal will provide a cozy location for Liga Mundo football as the stadium only holds 10,300 compared to the 51,762 seats at Loftus Versfeld.
The Springboks and the Welwitschias play on different days and start times, so there will not be any conflict of matches at the same time.
"Once the Karma War and hostilities have ceased, then the Springboks will return to Loftus Versfeld" said Manager Botha.
MAY 11, 2009 - Dakarai Baako shown the door
Controversal forward Dakarai Baako was released by the Springboks this morning.
“Baako was not really bringing anything imperative to the team. In the three matches he played he ended up getting carded all three times and thrown out once... all that for just one goal in return. Anyways there are other, younger and more talented players chomping at the bit for a spot so club management felt that we could no longer hold up a spot for an unproductive player whose form has been mediocre at best.”
“With our defense and midfield, we are set for the long haul but our forward line still needs some adjustments. Brennan, Van Deinsen, and Balthazar Botha are our key attackers but with fan favourite and former captain Gert Grünholz getting long in the tooth, we really need to start looking at developing a solid fourth attacker. Gert knows his career is in its twilight, and is quite content with substitution duty – but we were wasting a spot with someone of Baako’s age pulling that same role.”
MAY 13, 2009 - Springboks sign Tswana teenager
In the wake of the Darakai Baako comeback failure, Manager Bartnel Botha followed up with an unusual signing this morning when 17-year-old forward Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen was acquired from amateur side Gaborone Zebras.
“We signed GBB as a raw talent, project player for the future - but he could get a couple of starts late in our campaign depending what our placement looks like. The kid only started playing football two years ago after being one of the handful Tswana who happened to wander by to watch the famed Worst-of-the World match in the inaugural Nordreich Cup. Intrigued by the game, he began to hang around the clubhouse of the local amateur club and soon gained some notice on the field. He may be young and inexperienced, but he certainly has the intelligence and coolness to persevere and possibly make it big in the league a few seasons from now.”
“After the failed comeback of Darakai Baako, the club management really wanted to bring in another African player with enough ability to replace him so that there were no allegations of racism – a card which Baako has played occasionally over the years when things haven’t gone his way. While GBB may not have the ability right now to make an impact, he will develop into a player we would have never got out of Baako.”
MAY 18, 2009 - Liga Mundo in Namibia
Transvaal Springboks and VolNation Volunteers played to a grueling 1-1 draw this morning as Liga Mundo made its debut in Namibia with Die Bokke’s first home game played at their temporary grounds at the Khomasdal in Windhoek.
The match saw Referee Dick Tator making liberal use of his yellow cards as he handed out seven bookings to seven different Springboks during play: “That must have been some kind of record” commented Gert Grünholz after the game. “It was starting to become a one-sided farce out there with the way we kept getting into his book while VolNation didn’t.” What Grünholz didn’t comment on however were the three injured VolNation players who left the game.
Transvaal got on the scoreboard first when Ricardo van Deinsen scored eight minutes into the first half from a shot close in against VolNation goalkeeper Christopher Rojas. Ian Robertson evened out the scoreline at 1-1 when he bagged a penalty shot against Thurston Alderton three minutes into the second half.
“Unlike previous clashes against us where home field advantage has played a major factor, I think today both teams were feeling like they were on the road” said Manager Bartnel Botha alluding to the ’Boks temporary home.
Khomasdal Stadium was filled standing-room-only as local soccer fans got to witness their first example of two great, historical Liga Mundo teams in action. Windhoek is home to Transvaal’s “other team” in the X11 leagues, Windhoek Welwitschia – and a large number of blue-green-red Biltongboere jerseys could be seen in the stands cheering on the ‘Boks. Also most of the Windhoek players were in attendance to see for themselves what Liga Mundo was all about.
“Some of us were talking with the Springboks during warm-up, giving them useful pointers as to the peculiarities of playing at Khomasdal – such as those bare patches of dirt around the penalty box which cause the ball to bounce excessively” said Windhoek keeper Gil Sá. “It was really kind of surreal talking to Thurston Alderton and having him ask for pointers – it should be the other way around.”
MAY 18, 2009 - Bokkies vs Rokkies
Springbok midfielder Detlef Botha, known for his outspoken and derisive comments regarding the female coaching staff of Arcadia FC, announced to the press after this morning’s match against VolNation that “…if we lose to the Rokkies (“rok” is Afrikaans for ‘skirt’ or ‘dress’ then I will wear a skirt for the remainder of our matches this season. This is it boys! We are here to win and everything will be on the line next Monday! I so want to win this baby and see the Big Three’s shattered faces when we take the Liga Mundo championship on June 8.”
MAY 21, 2009 - Van Deinsen announces retirement
Ricardo van Deinsen, 30-year-old forward for Transvaal Springboks, notified club management of his retirement at the conclusion of this season. He is currently the club’s leader in career points and second for number of matches played.
“This comes as quite a shock to us” said Manager Bartnel Botha to the press, “as we were expecting that Gert Grünholz would be the one making his departure. Ricardo is an original Springbok and has been instrumental for us during our run for the championship this season. It now makes us want to win it just that much more, so we can see him leave us at the club’s highest moment.”
Van Deinsen’s retirement raises some cause for alarm for next season as this now leaves a major hole in the ‘Boks’s attack with Charles Brennan as their sole scoring threat up front.
“What this means is that Balthazar Botha will have to be ready to step up and take a leading role – as Grünholz is getting too old and been struggling the past three seasons while Bathoen is too young and raw to rely for more than the occasional start. The club probably does not have the cash to find an immediate replacement of the same calibre – so if we are to have short-term success, then the next three matches are imperative for us.”
MAY 25, 2009 - ’Boks return to Loftus Versfeld
With IRON’s withdrawal from the Karma War, peace finally returned to Transvaal this morning. As a result, the Springboks have announced their return to Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria for their final home match of the season – versus Swamplandia Sinners next Monday.
“We were planning on remaining at the Khomasdal until the start of next season, however with Ricardo van Deinsen’s impending retirement as well as next week’s match possibly being the championship winner, we felt that it was appropriate that we return to our home field at the earliest opportunity” said Manager Bartnel Botha. “Our supporters have been clamouring for one last chance to see Ricardo in action before hanging up the cleats.”
“It’s quite possible, depending on ours and Arcadia’s results next week, that we might clinch the league title next Monday – so it would be nice to win that in front of our home fans, if at all possible” said forward Charles Brennan.
And as Detlef Botha quipped “...our results at the Khomasdal haven’t been stellar either. The sooner we can leave this dustbowl behind, the better.”
MAY 29, 2009 - Loftus Versfeld bids farewell to Ricardo
Loftus Versfeld Stadium was filled to capacity crowd this morning as the Springbok faithful paid tribute to original ’Bok Ricardo van Deinsen in his penultimate match prior to retirement.
In a surprise roster move, the talented forward was pulling duty on fullback filling in for an injured Bert van der Meer. “I’ve played in every position on this team – including twice as goalkeeper” quipped the popular forward. “I often joke with Thurston [Alderton] and Göran [Von Knorring] about how I am still the only undefeated goalkeeper in the club.”
Van Deinsen did not look too out of place either on the backline along with defensive stalwarts Joep Boekweg and Leon Hooiber, as the Springboks held Swamplandia Sinners to just 4 shots on net. The Sinners played a cautious game which also held Transvaal to 4 shots (only 1 in the second half) but it was an early header by Balthazar Botha in the first five minutes which ended up sealing the much-needed victory for the ’Boks as they continued to maintain their grip on first place in the Primera Liga. 17-year-old forward Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen made his senior debut and it was his timely cross which set up Botha’s goal.
After the final whistle, Manager Bartnel Botha was quick to explain the low-scoring game: “Swamplandia is one of those teams that just always match up well against us. Also we had some roster juggling which needed to be done to both cover some critical injuries and to get some guys into the game for experience sake. That explains why I had to move Van Deinsen back to the defensive line, so I could get secondary forwards Grünholz and Bathoen into the match. As well this being our final home match of the season, I needed to get Ricardo van Deinsen into the line-up – be it as a fullback. It was a move which was a bit of a gamble but ended up paying off as best as I could expect, especially since Bert van der Meer is now gone for the season and probably will miss our first match of Season 6.”
JUNE 8, 2009 - Ons almal is Bokke
The match was also significant for being the final curtain call for 30-year-old forward Ricardo van Deinsen, an original Springbok who called it a day after five seasons, 84 matches, 34 goals and 45 points. A multi-purpose player, his final two matches saw him playing fullback, filling in for injured Bert van der Meer and bowing out as club leader in both points and goals and second after Joep Boekweg in matches played. His greatest match was arguably the 3-2 loss to Atlético Luz Del Mar on May 31 when he was responsible for both goals.
It was midfielder Detlef Botha who dictated the ’Boks finish against Estrella Roja today when he took a commanding role, scoring two goals himself and set up Charles Brennan for a third. Juan-María Motta clawed one back for Roja in the 72nd minute when potted the ball in close past Thurston Alderton.
In recognition of the club’s unexpected achievement in what was on paper intended to be “a season of consolidation” and gelling as a squad, the management has ordered gold rings to be presented to all 21 players who participated during the championship season.
When asked for his thoughts post-game, a still-shocked Manager Bartnel Botha had this to say:
“Winning the title really came down to the wire for us, as we faced a resurgent Arcadia FC making a run at us during the second half of the season while we began to face obstacles such as injuries and suspensions. Probably what won the title for us was bowing out of the cup competition when we did, as we only had the resources and talent to focus on one – not both.”
When asked about ‘where does the club go from here?’, Manager Botha replied: “I suppose our next challenge is to try and win one of the cups. Also there will be a lot of expectation for us to maintain position and defend our title. If anything, next season will be an even harder task than this one – as we had set ourselves out with modest expectations. There was no pressure on us to finish as well as we did, at the start of the season we were aiming for fourth place and 24 points.”
JUNE 9, 2009 - Springbok club awards announced
The Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and management of the Transvaal Springboks announced this morning the following awards to be handed at the annual club award dinner and dance this coming weekend:
- Player of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Fullback of the Season: Joep Boekweg
- Midfielder of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Forward of the Season: Ricardo Van Deinsen
- Most Improved Player: Stien van Buyten
- Rookie of the Season: Cuthbert McGorry
- Prospect of the Season: Dingiswayo Ngwane
Season 6 PrimeraEdit
JUNE 10, 2009 - TDSN ’Boks Progress Report
TRANSVALER DAAGLIKSE SPORTSNUUS [EXCLUSIVE]: The Springboks management was hard at work this morning going through all the player progress reports to ascertain exactly what kind of impact last season’s improvement will have going into Liga Mundo Season 6.
First off, it appears that no one decreased in ability – even long-in-the-tooth veteran Gert Grünholz who at 35 is by far the oldest Springbok and has struggled for playing time the past two seasons saw some improvement.
Let’s start in the back field.
In between the pipes, starting goalkeeper Thurston Alderton came off his best season ever with eight X11 selections and is expected to have another banner year. His dependable back-up, Göran von Knorring visibly improved although he is probably still a couple of seasons away before making a challenge for more starting jobs.
In the defensive line, veteran fullback Bert van der Meer has been eclipsed by the quiet force Joep Boekweg and up and comer Leon Hooiber. This is the second season in which Hooiber has visibly improved. At age 25, Hooiber should start providing some leadership for the ‘Boks famed tightfisted defensive corps. Both reserve fullbacks Cuthbert McGorry and Olav Froggnarsen saw visible improvement but are likely two to three seasons away from being fulltime starters. Zulu prospect Dingiswayo Ngwane made the most of his limited playing time and improved visibly as well.
The midfield line saw the most interesting improvement, as veteran original ’Bok Dick Witchge, Matthias Rieger, Mark Verwayen, Emmanuel Hörtnagl, and Detlef Botha all visibly improved. For many seasons, the midfield was the achillies heel of the Transvaal side, however in the past two seasons it has evolved into being game makers. Hörtnagl’s improvement caught management pleasantly unexpected as most of his match time was as a substitute and he struggled compared to the flashes of brilliance he exhibited at the end of Liga Mundo Season 4. Mark Verwayen, who has been in the shadows since Liga Mundo Season 1, showed what he was capable of when making the most of his limited playing time last season. Liga Mundo Season 6 could well be his breakout year, much like how Liga Mundo Season 5 was the coming of age for Stien van Buyten, another Springbok prospect from Liga Mundo Season 1.
With the sudden retirement of Ricardo van Deinsen, the Springboks’ forward line is probably its weakest component of the team. Charles Brennan will continue to be the dangerous threat he is, but Balthazar Botha was expected to make the jump from 6 to 7 – which he failed to do. Balthazar will finally see himself as a regular starter again for the first time since Liga Mundo Season 3, while Gert “Grumpy” Grünholz should see more playing time when Die Bokke go with three forwards. Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen joined the club too late in the season to see any visible improvement and his playing time will be mostly as injury reserve.
It is quite possible that Manager Botha might look at acquiring another forward – although the club probably does not have the cash flow to acquire any sort of player which could step in and make an immediate impact on the goaline.
JUNE 16, 2009 - Springboks bow out of cup
Up 3-1 going into the second half, the Transvaal Springboks somehow found a way to fold up in front of expansion side Atlético Melloria to drop a 4-3 decision which went into extra time and make an early exit from the Copa Del Mar.
“Despite rumours to the contrary, we did not actually tank the match – it was our intention to win it however it is pretty obvious that we took Atlético Melloria way too lightly today” explained an exasperated Manager Bartnel Botha. “We also did not field our strongest line-up.”
Most observers blamed the half-hearted and careless defence which the Springboks put up as well as still feeling the effects of Bert van der Meer’s lengthy injury and overall poor form from the off-season.
Referee Manuel Ficuz made excessively liberal use of his cards as he dealt out a total of 11 yellows and 2 red. “Melloria... welcome to ’Boks football!” quipped a frustrated Detlef Botha after the match when asked about all the bookings.
Back-up goalkeeper Göran von Knorring played horribly – allowing 4 of the 6 shots against him – while Balthazar Botha got himself booked twice within five minutes to see himself suspended for their next match – which now does not come until July 3. The only real bright spot was the first senior goal scored by youngster Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen while Charles Brennan picked up Transvaal’s two other goals.
JUNE 26, 2009 - Springboks add forward Northfield
Manager Bartnel Botha made a quiet acquisition last week when he signed 27-year-old Neil Northfield off the transfer wire.
Going into the new campaign, it is no secret that Transvaal’s weakest position seems to be the attack with only two dependable regulars, Charles Brennan and Balthazar Botha, on the roster after the retirement of Ricardo van Deinsen. However with Botha now sitting out for the season opener with a suspension he picked up against Atlético Melloria in the Copa Del Mar, the ’Boks were looking rather thin for offense with neither Gert Grünholz nor GB Bathoen fully really to step in. Therefore Manager Botha dipped into the team coffers and was able to bring in utility forward Neil Northfield for just over R800,000 rand.
“Neil is admittedly a few years older than what we traditionally pursue for signings, however for his age and price he does bring us a nice, rounded skill-set package to the team. While I certainly don’t view him as an immediate replacement for Ricardo, he would definitely be a suitable replacement for Grumpy Grünholz when he decides to call it a day” said Manager Botha.
Prior to joining the Springboks, Northfield played two seasons in the old Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging domestic National Liga for his home town of Kimberley. After the NL folded last year, he then moved to Europe and toiled in an assortment of lower semi-pro leagues there.
JULY 3, 2009 - Dark cloud over season opener
Transvaal Springboks sputtered their way in reverse to a 2-2 draw versus Swamplandia Sinners at Loftus Versfeld this morning and lost goalkeeper Thurston Alderton to injury in the process.
Alderton – considered by many to be the defensive anchor of the team the past three seasons – is expected to be out for three weeks and will miss at least two matches. With another mediocre performance by back-up Göran von Knorring, fans and pundits are now wondering aloud whether the upcoming starts for Von Knorring will be the ultimate tests that make or break his spot on the roster.
The Springboks got on the scoreboard first in the middle of the first half from a long range snipe by Charles Brennan but would later fall behind by one when Buck Clay and Rory Palin scored for Swamplandia in the 71st and 82nd minute marks. Die Bokke only salvaged the equaliser through sheer luck after Swamplandia forward Jermaine Hays was caught back on defense and then fumbled the ball into his own net on a freak deflection.
“This wasn’t at all how we planned to start the season” said a dismayed Manager Bartnel Botha. “There were no bright spots from today’s match except perhaps that we didn’t outright cough up three points to Swamplandia. Losing Thurston Alderton is a major concern but at least he will be back well before our six-game string against the Big Three.”
JULY 9, 2009 - ’Boks fans shocked at Grünholz departure
Original Springbok Gert Grünholz was released by Manager Bartnel Botha this afternoon.
“It was a really tough, heart-wrenching decision to make but Grumpy Grünholz’s playing days were numbered and as much as we would have liked to have seen him retire with the club, management felt we needed to move on. With the recent injury to Thurston Alderton and management uncertainty with the long-term ability of back-up Göran von Knorring, the club has been scouting the transfer wires for a third keeper to bring in for development. To do so, we needed to make room and Gert was the most viable option to cut from our roster” explained a visibly upset Bartnel Botha at the press conference.
Gert Grünholz – who at age 35 was the oldest Springbok going into this campaign – was one of 5 last remaining players from the original roster. One of the most popular players with the Loftus Versfeld faithful, he had a strong presence in the first two seasons for the club and was named team captain. However during Season 3 his production and ability began to dip and he had struggled the past three seasons for playing time. At the end of Season 4 it appeared that he had re-found his stride only to be felled by a season-ending injury.
Grünholz played in 65 senior matches for the Springboks, putting him at sixth in career games played going into Season 6. He is fourth in career points and third in career goals.
JULY 10, 2009 - Springboks sign third keeper
In the wake of the sudden Gert Grünholz departure yesterday, Manager Bartnel Botha made short work in his stated desire to sign a third keeper when 22-year-old François Théron inked a contract with the Springboks this morning.
Despite his French-sounding name, Théron (pronounced ‘Troan’) is a South African player of French Huguenot decent. “My parents moved to South Africa like 200 years ago, so I’m as Afrikaner as the next boer” laughed the keeper when introduced to the press.
Like many other younger players waiting for the opportunity to crack the Springboks, Théron has toiled in various mid-level European leagues waiting for the call. “Manager Botha and the rest of the club management have had their eye on me for a couple of seasons however the timing wasn’t right until this week.”
While observers have no doubt as to injured Thurston Alderton’s place on the squad, there has been quiet concern inside and outside the club whether Göran von Knorring has the ability to take over the reigns in the future when Alderton has moved on.
To quote Lukas Reitz on Radio-Transvaal’s “Boks World” afternoon programme:
“What we will probably see the Springboks progressing towards is much what is happening at Windhoek Welwitschia right now, where the club relies on a goalie tandem splitting the duties instead of relying on one strong keeper and carrying a weaker back-up. While Göran likely isn’t doing to develop into a solid starter, he would make an excellent paring in a tandem, albeit giving Théron a couple of seasons to gain enough experience to become the other half. Of course this is all conjecture because it is a guaranteed bet that Alderton will be a fixture at Loftus Versfeld until retirement day.”
JULY 17, 2009 - Springboks thump Voobaha
After three weeks of looking the complete opposite of their championship form, Transvaal Springboks regrouped and finally began to click when they downed visiting Primera newcomers Voobaha National by the score of 6-3.
Charles Brennan, Balthazar Botha, and Detlef Botha each bagged a brace of goals in the win while Xristostomos Zikos and Alexander Heggem were responsible for the three goals for Voobaha.
Third-string goalkeeper François Théron got his first-ever senior start but looked pretty nervous between the posts as he only managed to stop 1 of 4 shots against him. At the other end of the pitch, Kees van der Vart was bombarded with an incredible 17 shots.
Both of the Botha Brothers were forced to retire early from the match due to light injuries sustained but should be ready for selection when Die Bokke clash with Swamplandia Sinners in the first leg of their cup tie next Tuesday at Loftus Versfeld.
“This was the first match this season where our form was back up to its normal, expected levels – and the effects definitely showed today” said a relieved Manager Botha at the post-game press conference. “The pundits had us down for losing today, so it was really nice to hear that final whistle and then see those 6 goals on the scoreboard. The first win and the last win of the season are always the most stressful.”
JULY 24, 2009 - Die Bokke slides into mediocrity
Transvaal Springboks dropped a 2-1 decision to Estrella Roja in the 84th minute after Juan-María Motta beat lethargic keeper Thurston Alderton on a breakaway. Alderton had been cleared to play only hours before and looked out-of-form after returning from his injury incurred three weeks ago. And more bad luck struck down the ’Boks in what is fast becoming a forgettable season when star fullback Leon Hooiber was then lost for three weeks due to injury early in the first half.
“These injuries to our best players are taking a real toll on us” said a frustrated Manager Bartnel Botha. “Judging from our performance so far, it’s really hard to believe that we actually won the championship last season. It now all seems so long ago.”
The Springboks haven’t been able to find their stride since losing Ricardo van Deinsen to retirement. The club’s two signings since last season have been peripheral movements with little to no impact seen so far – although foward Neil Northfield is slowly gaining some steam after his decent performance against Swamplandia Sinners in last week’s cup tie.
“And with that six-game series against the Big Three looming ahead in a couple of weeks, things could get real ugly real fast as right now I seriously doubt we could walk away with any points from those matches.”
One unnamed player commented after the final whistle that “after a long string of success against Estrella Roja, and seeing them parked in the basement, I believe many of us took them too lightly today and thought we could afford to make mistakes.”
JULY 28, 2009 - Transvaal advances to second round
Transvaal Springboks held off a strong effort by Swamplandia Sinners in their second cup draw to hang on for a 5-4 victory to take their cup round and move on with an 8-5 aggregate goals total.
The defensive combination of Bert van der Meer, Joop Boekweg, and Cuthbert McGorry looked particularly flat today while keeper Thurston Alderton is still showing the lingering effects of his lengthy injury.
At the other end of the pitch however, the Springboks’ midfield and forward were particularly strong although Henk Schot and Detlef Botha will be sitting out the next match due to suspensions. Balthazar Botha had a solid game as he picked up 2 goals and 2 assists. Emmanuel Hörtnagl played one of his stronger matches and collected a goal and assist. Charles Brennan scored one goal – which has now tied him with career goal and points leader Ricardo van Deinsen in both categories.
“I think we might have caught them off-guard with our formation, as we usually end up – mostly due to injuries and form – playing 3-4-3 against Swamplandia. However today we switched to our more familiar attacking formation and offensively it prove huge for us. Defensively however we didn’t look very good, but in that department they looked worse – so it all kind of balanced out” said Manager Botha.
AUGUST 7, 2009 - Manager blames Cup for poor ’Boks form
With all-star midfielder Matthias Rieger now out until early September due to injury picked up in today’s 4-1 losing effort against Atlético Luz Del Mar, Manager Bartnel Botha lambasted the Liga during the post-game media conference and put blame on the two cup tournaments for the Springboks’ recent woes.
“When your team is playing two matches a week almost all season, it is next to impossible to maintain a constantly high level of form. The more I think about it, having two cup series in a season is brutal. All it really does is benefit the same rich, strong teams who win season after season and collect the prize money.”
“The reason why the past two seasons - more so last season - have been so competitive is because teams have a chance to train and recover from injuries. This year we have had four serious injuries and they have had twice as much impact on our squad than if they occurred last year because of all the extra fixtures we have to play this year.”
Transvaal Springboks, normally one of the strongest teams for form, have been devastated on the field this season due to injuries and scheduling. Their defensive line, last season an impregnable bulwark, has been decimated like swiss cheese with injuries, poor form, and suspensions.
AUGUST 9, 2009 - ’Boks to tank cup draw to Bohs
JOHANNESBURG FREE PRESS SPORTS: The latest rumours coming from the Loftus Versfeld clubhouse is the Springboks plan to tank a cup match for a second season in a row. While Manager Bartnel Botha has not gone on record saying that will be the case, the fact that he has urgent business to attend to between August 19 and August 23 means that the Springboks will be effectively managerless during that time.
While the team would be able to make do on its own for its league matches during that time, that would not be the case should the Springboks compete in the Quarter-Finals. It is rumoured that the Transvaal manager plans to dress his second and third string players against Dun Carrig since the team would be almost guaranteed to be knocked out the next round.
Since Manager Botha lashed out recent at league officials over the state of the schedule with league matches and two cup runs, the Springboks management may be just opting to cut their losses early and thus avoid having to worry about extra form training for what would be meaningless matches resulting in losses.
With names like GB Bathoen, François Théron and Dingiswayo Ngwane listed on Tuesday's starting line-up while Boekweg and Hooiber appear on the sidelines, this reporter is smelling 'tank' in the works.
AUGUST 11, 2009 - ‘Boks field youngsters in 2-0 cup loss
Transvaal Springboks exited the Copa Legada today with an expected 2-0 loss to Dun Carrig Bohs.
With stars Van der Meer, Hooiber, Boekweg, Brennan, and Alderton all on the sidelines, Transvaal’s youthful future got a chance to compete. “What you saw today is what our line-up will look like in around three to five seasons, after all our vets have retired. Apart from Emmanuel Hörtnagl, who was dressed as a substitute, these are the future stars of the Springboks” commented Manager Botha.
While Transvaal’s defence looked weak for a Primera team, Manager Botha did stress that “Frognarsen and Ngwane had played better than normal”, especially the young Zulu fullback. “Van Buyten and Balthazar also looked good out there today.”
The man dubbed Koppesneller [Headhunter] will miss the ’Boks match against powerhouse VolNation Volunteers; Detlef Botha picked up a late red card for mowing down Dun Carrig midfielder Paul Kells and has been suspended one game. Kells is expected to miss the next two weeks.
When asked about the suspension, the Koppesneller shrugged and laughed with a twinkle in his eye: “I’ll guess that means I have to wait for Robertson next time around.”
Joep Boekweg, veteran fullback from the original Springbok roster, has quietly been making his way towards playing his 100th match, scheduled to occur on August 21 in Arcadia.
AUGUST 15, 2009 - Witchge leads ‘Boks against VolNation
Midfielder Dick Witchge scored two goals yesterday in Transvaal Springboks’ 2-0 shocker upset versus VolNation Volunteers. In what was an unusually clean match for the South Africans, the home side was limited to just four shots on net but Witchge hit paydirt both times as he took control of the midfield.
“This was our first game this season where no one shirked off on the field. Everyone performed as best as they can – most often better. Second-string fullback Olav Froggnarson had a very strong effort in undoubtedly his best match to date” said Manager Botha in post-game.
“VolNation has traditionally done poorly at Loftus Versfeld, but considering how our season has been progressing, most people expected the Volunteers to beat the curse.”
AUGUST 15, 2009 - The legendary Joep Boekweg
Transvaal Springboks' upcoming match on August 21 against Arcadia FC will go down in history as the 100th competitive match for fullback Joep Boekweg.
One of just five original Springboks, the hardworking Boekweg has quietly passed under the attention radar in Liga Mundo as he steadfastly made his way towards legendary status.
As Detlef Botha told Transvaler Daaglikse Sportnuus: “When most people think of Springbok fullbacks, often Bert van der Meer is the first who comes to mind. Then Leon Hooiber – but Boekweg is probably the best of them all. Not flashy, but always consistently steady and a rock solid presence”
Statistically, Joep Boekweg is 11th in overall club scoring with 18 points and tied for 3rd with 15 assists – leading all fullbacks that have donned the green and orange sweater. He has 23 X11 team selections, tied with Matthias Rieger and only 1 behind midfielder Dick Witchge. In Liga catergories, he trails behind Lois Luis in 2nd place for points for all fullbacks.
When asked about his longevity with Die Bokke, Boekweg told us that “I’m not actually sure why I survived all the cuts over the seasons while other, better fullbacks have fallen by the wayside. Johann Berger, Gijs Oesterweld, and Knut Borgebäck - these were all good players on our back line yet I was kept on and they were let go. I’m not sure why. I have to admit that it is rather surprising I lasted this long on the team. I must be doing something right”
Manager Botha says Boekweg’s appeal is his strong work ethic. “We have never had a player who trains and hustles as much as Joep does.”
AUGUST 29, 2009 - Springboks level out Arcadia FC
In what was the first match this season with no injured players on the sidelines, Transvaal Springboks managed a late goal in injury time to scrape a 2-2 draw against league powerhouse Arcadia FC. Playing down a goal for the majority of the match, forward Charles Brennan and midfielder Detlef Botha were the scorers for the homeside.
“Considering how our season has been progressing, I was quite pleased to walk away with a draw with the league leaders” said Manager Bartnel Botha post-game. “Our goalkeeping was a little circumspect as Göran von Knorring left halfway through the game and Thurston Alderton looked a flat when he went in for relief. Originally Alderton was starting but with the late kick-off, I changed my mind and gave Von Knorring the start on account of his much stronger form this week. Alderton is still feeling the after-effects of his lengthy injury spell.”
Detlef Botha – who always steps up his game a notch or three against Arcadia FC – provided yet another thorn in the visitors’ quest for the three points with his timely freekick goal. Dick Witchge and Henk Schott also had particularly strong outings for Die Bokke.
Next up is another tough Big Three match-up when Transvaal makes the trip to Neyland Statdium to face the VolNation Volunteers. The struggling ’Boks took the earlier match this season 2-0 as Transvaal has not lost a game to VolNation in the last four meetings.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 - Springboks battered by VolNation
Transvaal Springboks emerged from VolNation’s Neyland Stadium worse for wear after the Volunteers won 5-2 and two leading Bokke were lost for the upcoming match against Atlético Luz Del Mar. Forward and leading scorer Charles Brennan will sit out from suspension while hardnosed midfielder Detlef Botha is out for two games due to injury.
“Not having those two guys next week will no doubt make it difficult for us against ALDM. I may have to change up some positioning so as to strengthen our attack and help out Balthazar Botha up front.”
Despite the loss, Manager Bartnel Botha said that there were still some positives to take home.
“After Detlef was carried off, Mark Verwayen stepped in and bagged our first goal a minute into the second half. Now here’s a kid who has been with the team since a junior prospect early in Season 1 and has constantly had to struggle from the sidelines for playing time, most often as a substitute. But talk about making the most of his chances whenever he gets them. Also Stien van Buyten played his strongest game ever and only just missed out getting just his second X11 section in six seasons. Henk Schot has continued to play very strong after a great outing against Arcadia last week”
“It’s really nice to see these ‘original’ prospects like Van Buyten, Verwayen, and Balthazar now maturing into solid, dependable players just hitting their stride.”
SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 - Detlef Botha denies retaliation injury
Detlef Botha spoke with the VolNation media after yesterday’s match regarding his injury at Neyland Stadium.
Despite what the hardnosed midfielder for the Springboks stated – or joked depending on whom you believe - in the press last month after their previous meeting about going after Ian Robertson “next time around”, he doesn’t believe he was the target for retaliation.
“No, freak stuff like that happens all the time. I’m a big boy and VolNation are too classy an organization to go on a headhunting spree. I was going hard in on goal and twisted my ankle on a grass chip taken out of the field. The guy tackling on me – I think it was Red Moreno, don’t recall for sure – was playing it all positional, clean and good. No hard feelings.”
SEPTEMBER 13, 2009 - Springboks changing sweaters on Monday
The marketing department of the Transvaal Springboks announced this morning that a brand-new uniform design and colour scheme would be revealed on Monday.
Gone are the green and orange stripes which have been used since the middle of Season 4 – to be replaced by dark, bottle green sweaters with golden orange and white neck trim along with white shorts.
While the old orange and green stripes will always be associated with our championship run last season, this new design we guarantee will be a classic look that will become popular with our fans and will cry ‘Bokke’.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009 - Springboks pronk out of relegation
In what Manager Bartnel Botha was calling a “major character win for our forwards”, the Transvaal Springboks leapt out of last place in the Primera Liga and outside of the relegation zone with their decisive 5-1 victory over visiting Estrella Roja.
Going into the match, the prospects looked pretty stacked against Die Bokke as Balthazar Botha was sitting out from a suspension and Charles Brennan left after just four minutes due to injury. This left second-string forward Neil Northfield and youngster Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen now with a momentous task on their shoulders to provide some offensive power.
Neither player failed to disappoint as both players dug in and perfomed in their best outings seen to date in their short playing careers. Despite being one of the rawest talents in the entire Liga Mundo, GB Bathoen showed flashes of future brilliance when he got Transvaal on the scoreboard first with his smart, cool-headed play in close against Havgrímur Tjørnild after connecting on a Northfield pass at the 23rd minutes.
Estrella Roja counterattacked off the following kickoff and the score leveled out at 1-1. Detlef Botha, back from his recent major injury, however banged home another close shot around five minutes before halftime and this gave Transvaal a 2-1 lead at the break.
The midfield took over during the second half as Matthias Rieger scored twice and Henk Schot then picked up one goal to give Transvaal a commanding 5-1 lead at the 66th minute.
Estrella Roja was limited to just three shots against Thurston Alderton while the Springboks had eight attempts on the opposing net – with Rieger’s goals coming from a long outside shot and then later set up by a Detlef Botha cornerkick.
“This was one of our stronger games this season, in practically all areas we out-classed them” commented Detlef Botha after the final whistle. “We knew coming into this match it was a key fixture as Estrella Roja, like us, have been staring down relegation. Those five goals did wonders for our goal difference, which could end up deciding our fate in the Primera this season.”
OCTOBER 2, 2009 - ’Boks display perfect teamwork in win
In what was a textbook win, the Transvaal Springboks displayed what could only be called ‘perfect teamwork’ in their 2-0 victory against Voobaha National.
Midfielder Matthias Rieger scored both goals for Die Bokke with Emmanuel Hörtnagl and Detlef Botha chipping in for the assists. Both goals came from spotkicking plays, Botha setting up from a setpiece freekick while Hörtnagl’s assist was off his corner. Despite the low score, Springboks dominated ball control as Voobaha was limited just 30 minutes of possession.
“This game was by far the best I have seen this team play – as a team – in many seasons. It was a 20/20 effort for everyone today” commented a pleased Manager Botha to the press after the final whistle.
Transvaal has two matches remaining in its Liga Mundo Season 6 schedule before sitting out the final week as a bye.
OCTOBER 16, 2009 - Springboks close out dismal season
Transvaal Springboks defeated Swampandia Sinners 1-0 to avoid relegation in what prove to be a depressing follow-up to their Primera championship title in Liga Mundo Season 5. For the second week in a row the ’Boks played with perfect teamwork throughout but an early red card to Matthias Rieger capped out the goal scoring with a lone tally from Charles Brennan. Mark Verwayen left the match in the first half hour due to injury and is now gone for three weeks.
Mathematically the Springboks could drop down to a sixth place finish in the Primera Liga but this would require Swamplandia to defeat high-flying Arcadia FC by an impossible and unheard-of 9-goal margin. The ’Boks now have to wait out a week as the rest of the league plays out the remaining round of fixtures.
With no retirements announced for the off-season, Manager Botha said that he would stick with the same roster for Liga Mundo Season 7 although depth on the forward line was still an area of concern. “We don’t have the cash to make any major acquisitions that would have an immediate effect so we are hoping the progress report will be kind to us on our offense. We are expecting all our forwards except perhaps Brennan to improve by one full level – in the case of GB Bathoen we’re expecting 2 levels. Balthazar Botha had his best season in six campaigns while Neil Northfield performed better than we expected for joining the squad as a stop-gap replacement for the departed Van Deinsen and Grünholz.”
Season 7 PrimeraEdit
OCTOBER 26, 2009 - Van der Meer on his way out?
Original Springbok fullback Bert van der Meer has by mutual agreement been placed on the transfer wire by Manager Bartnel Botha. “Van der Meer has now slipped down to third on our defensive depth chart but we found last season it was difficult to provide the playing time which he demanded.
“At $1,000,000 he would be a bargain, experienced player for an up and coming Tercera or Segunda team and still has some years of playing left. However recent progress the past two seasons of Joep Boekweg and Leon Hooiber has eclipsed Van der Meer from being our leading defender. By shopping him around, we are hoping he will prove more useful to another club in Liga Mundo.”
OCTOBER 29, 2009 - And then there were three...
32-year-old veteran fullback Bert van der Meer was sold this afternoon for R1,000,000, leaving the Springboks with just three players remaining from their original expansion roster.
Manager Bartnel Botha said it was a painful decision but major injuries the past two seasons had contributed to a problematic decline in Van der Meer’s form and playing time.
“Bert was the only Springbok not to see an increase during the progress report, and at age 32 when that happens the question starts to arise how much longer does he have as a productive player?”
During the first four seasons of Liga Mundo play, Bert van der Meer was regarded by most observers as the anchor of the Springbok defence and along with midfielder Dick Witchge and forward Gert Grünholz kept the club competitive during those early formative seasons.
However with the acquision of future captain Leon Hooiber in the latter half of Season 3 and the quiet improvement of Joep “Radar” Boekweg, Van der Meer found himself eclipsed by these two players by the time Transvaal had won the championship in Season 5 – an event which was painfully ill-timed for Bert as he was sitting out injured when the cup was finally clinched. And surprisingly enough, despite setbacks on the field he still lead Springbok fullbacks in points last season.
Bert van der Meer will no doubt go down as one of the defensive greats of Transvaler football. In 90 league and cup matches, he collected 1 goal and 16 assists. While possessing a booming shot which never seemed to get used as much as it should have, on a wider scale, he will always be remembered by Liga Mundo fans as being simply one of the toughest, physically hard players seen on what has historically been a physical team. He averaged a yellow card every 2 matches and had 5 red cards to his name. Every season he was in the Top 3 for penalty infractions of one sort or another, leading Liga Mundo for yellow cards the past four seasons. Despite the carnage he left behind on the field, he was selected 12 times to X11 teams.
Despite the obvious, immediate hole his departure leaves, Manager Botha says he is shopping the transfer wires for a younger replacement.
NOVEMBER 2, 2009 - Springboks sign UCFA star
In finding a replacement for recently-departed Bert van der Meer, Manager Bartnel Botha completed Transvaal’s most expensive signing in thirteen months when he inked 28-year-old Nathan Archibald to a deal today.
Archibald is a former member of Transvaal’s UCFA squads who had since been playing top-flight football in England prior to his move to Liga Mundo.
“We needed some experience to step in right away to fill the hole left by Van der Meer” explained Botha, “so I started to track down and contact guys who had played for me back in the days of the UCFA Champions League. Nathan showed interest in returning to Transvaal so I was able to come up with a competitive deal with his club. Admittedly I did not think we would get him, as there were 5 other bids which came through and the last one pushed us to the limit I was prepared to pay.”
NOVEMBER 19, 2009 - Zulu warriors on the move
Transvaal Springboks made an interesting and intriguing move today when 18-year-old fullback Dingiswayo Ngwane was released so that his younger brother, 16-year-old junior prospect Cetshwayo Ngwane could be signed in his place. Dingiswayo then promptly signed a contract with NVK Kaapstad Hornets of the Nordreich Liga.
“The move is win-win for everyone concerned” explained a beaming Manager Bartnel Botha – who manages both South African-based CN-X11 clubs.
“After signing Nathan Archibald, we had our defense set in stone for the coming season. However we then got word from Dingiswayo that his younger brother Cetshwayo (whose name begins with one of the ‘click’ sounds Zulu is famous for) had graduated and was looking to move up to senior-level football.”
“We checked out the kid during off-season trials and were amazed by his heading ability and coolness on the pitch, traits which both brothers possess. Unfortunately we had no room to take on yet another fullback-in-training.”
“After some discussion with Dingiswayo, and to my surprise, he offered to give up his spot on the Springboks to Cetshwayo if I would in turn find him a spot with another X11 team based in Africa – be it NVK Kaapstad Hornets or Windhoek Welwitschia. The Wels had no need for him but I definitely had a spot for him with the Hornets, and immediately inked him to a deal right then and there.”
As Dingiswayo Ngwane told the press after the deals were announced: “Cetshwayo belongs in Liga Mundo, there’s no doubt about that – and he will be a better player than I could ever hope to be in Liga Mundo – plus he’s got a two-year head start on me. I felt under the circumstances, I wanted to ensure my brother had the opportunity to better himself by playing in Liga Mundo. Meanwhile, I have enjoyed my chance to play against the very best with the Spirngboks and in the Primera – including a match against my hero and inspiration, Lois Luis – and I felt that I had a greater opportunity now waiting for me with Kaapstad where I will immediately become a starting player alongside Eugene Tchami, another young African fullback junior who is making a name for himself in the Nordreich Liga. By remaining in Liga Mundo, I would be holding back the Springboks. By joining the Nordreich Liga, I can make an immediate impact.”
Liga Mundo scouts on the African continent have already got Cetshwayo pegged down for future greatness.
“This boy is hands down the most valuable piece of talent the Springboks have right now after Detlef Botha.”
NOVEMBER 20, 2009 - Season 6 Club Awards
At the belated club awards dinner held last night, the Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and management of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 6 player accomplishments:
- Player of the Season: Charles Brennan
- Fullback of the Season: Joep Boekweg
- Midfielder of the Season: Matthias Rieger
- Forward of the Season: Charles Brennan
- Most Improved Player: Balthazar Botha
- Rookie of the Season: Neil Northfield
- Prospect of the Season: Göran von Knorring
NOVEMBER 21, 2009 - ’Boks cruise to 4-1 win
Transvaal Springboks snuffed out Compostella Artois’ potent offense at Denzin Park to take a decisive 4-1 lead in their El Invierno Clásico match-up. The two teams will rematch next week at Loftus Versfeld.
The lone goal for the homeside came during injury time when Bjarkí þór Ingi beat Göran von Knorring on a penalty kick – but by that point Transvaal had had the match in the bag since early in the first half.
Emmanuel Hörtnagl and Gatseitswe Boyke Bathoen each picked up a goal and an assist to lead the Springboks’ scoring, with midfielders Henk Schot and Stien van Buyten also chipping in. Charles Brennan set up van Buyten’s goal in the 28th minute which pretty much sealed Compostella Artois’ fate.
A happy Manager Botha told the press afterwards that “…it was a great effort and even greater result considering we had two second-stringers and one third-stringer dressed for the start. Emmanuel Hörtnagl has been flying high during the pre-season and we think that if he is given enough playing time, this could be his breakout season.”
“And GB Bathoen always makes the most of his scant playing opportunities, so to see the young Tswana forward pick up two points today, well that brought a lot of smiles to everyone’s faces. Critics like to write him off for being too outclassed for the Primera Liga but he showed today that he is a very smart, very relaxed player under pressure and can compete at this level and even produce.”
NOVEMBER 25, 2009 - Red-carded ’Boks cough up lead in opener
A red-card ejection to fullback Nathan Archibald near the end of the first half resulted in Transvaal Springboks dropping their momentum with a 2-1 lead and then watching helplessly as the Swamplandia Sinners roared back to win the match 3-2.
Archibald is now gone for two matches as he was suspended for elbowing.
A precise header by Detlef Botha was the lone goal actually scored by the Springboks as the tough midfielder had all of Transvaal’s scoring opportunities during the first half. A fluke own-goal by Swamplandia half an hour into the match gave the visitors a two goal lead until Torsten Tullare beat a rather lacklustre ’Boks keeper Thurston Alderton from the penalty area in the 40th minute. However the man-advantage held by the Sinners was just too much for Transvaal to retain a lead and the ‘Boks offense was completely neutralised after the 61st minute, the last shot on net they had. Hank Osbourne and Barry Joseph were the two other goal scorers for Swamplandia.
After the match, Manager Bartnel Botha lambasted the Swamplandia referees as having an ‘anti-Transvaal’ agenda in levying a two game suspension, the second the Springboks have been assessed in the past three competitive matches. Matthias Rieger picked up a two-game suspension in the final match of last season – which was also coincidently played at the Purgatory Palace. “Neither of these phantom suspensions actually resulted in any injuries – so two games is completely absurd!”
After the final whistle, tough guy Detlef Botha had to be restrained by stewards after he chirped his displeasure over the biased refereeing, threatening to go headhunting in their next meeting. “Keep your head up next time, Chuckles…” he was overheard taunting an unidentified Swamplandia player.
“We can't do anything about their cyclopsian referees, but if that circus outfit wants to bring in a bunch of clowns to referee, then don't be surprised if a gong show breaks out next time around” said the obviously agitated midfielder.
NOVEMBER 29, 2009 - Northfield hat-trick buries Artois
Last season second-line forward Neil Northfield scored but 2 goals for the Springboks. On Friday, he bettered that total when he bagged a natural hat-trick in the second leg of the cup tie against Compstela Artois. With Northfield’s goals and one from midfielder Matthias Rieger, Transvaal Springboks easily defeated the visitors 4-0 at Loftus Versfeld.
The match marked the return of Rieger after a two-game suspension but the star midfielder faced yet another hurdle in his campaign when he left the game three minutes after his goal due to injury. While Transvaal has a bye next week and his injury won’t force him from league play, he will miss the opening match against Voobaha National in the second round of the cup.
The 4-0 victory was essentially overkill as Transvaal went into Friday’s match with a 4-1 aggregate for goals and Compostela Artois were thus in for a tough time going into Loftus Versfeld as they tried to salvage their cup run.
Midfielders Henk Schot and Mark Verwayen collected the 3 assists on the Springbok goals.
Next up in the Invierno Clásico Cup for the green and gold is Voobaha National, a team that the South Africans have done well against but are not planning to take lightly.
As Manager Botha told the waiting press after the match, “…in the last round, we went with a line-up which we would not normally start with in league play as we wanted to give our second-line forwards, back-up keepers, and fullbacks some playing time. While we will probably will still insert a prospect here or there, expect to see more of our first-line players getting the start in our matches against Voobaha National. With the sudden and unexpected departure of Arcadia FC from the first round, we are not quite at the point where we are looking to bail like in previous seasons. I think we will go one more round and see what the quarter-final match-ups are first. Also by that time we will be in the middle of our triple-header series against the Big Three. How we do against them and our league position will determine how seriously we take our cup run.”
DECEMBER 16, 2009 - Springboks to bow out to Jekerger
Manager Bartnel Botha made an anticipated announcement today that Transvaal Springboks indeed plan to tank their quarter-final cup matches with Jekerger FC so that the club can focus on the remainder of the regular season.
“We do not have the resources nor player form right now to make a serious cup run – especially since our current league record is pretty flat. At this point of the season, the cup becomes more of a hindrance and distraction than a boon for us.”
Ticket prices to Friday’s match at Loftus Versfeld have been slashed in half as Manager Botha plans to field a ‘novelty’ line-up for both matches, although the rumoured line-up for the return meeting next week at Aero Arena is expected to be “an utter, downright joke”.
“...mind you, we might actually see attendance increase due to the curiosity factor.”
DECEMBER 18, 2009 - ’Boks tank 4-1 stinker to Jekerger
A disinterested Springboks squad went through the motions in front of a sparse crowd today at Loftus Versfeld, dropping an expected 4-1 loss to Jekerger FC in the quarter-finals of the cup.
Forward Neil Northfield scored the lone tally for Transvaal Springboks – which featured two goalkeepers as his line-mates on the attack.
“Our forwards looked pretty awful in training this week – apart from Northfield – so I figured that if we were going to throw the match anyways, what the hell... we might as well just use Thurston and Göran because they couldn’t do any worse out there” joked Manager Botha.
Back-up keeper Göran von Knorring did not look too lost as a runner, but Thurston Alderton spent most of his time standing by the goal post and chatting with Jerkerger keeper Ronnie Argvík.
“Next week when we travel to Jerkerger, we’ll probably go with a training line-up but move our all-rounders on to the attack, guys like Hörtnagl and Froggnarson, so they can get some practise playing in a secondary position. Also rumour going around the showers is midfielder Detlef Botha wants a go in net - and I haven’t ruled that option out yet.”
DECEMBER 27, 2009 - Springboks give the gift of victory
As expected, a bored and disinterested Transvaal Springboks squad fielded its weakest possible line-up against FC Jekerger and promptly handed a 5-1 Jekerger victory over on a silver platter - allowing FC Jerkerger to advance to the semi-finals on a 9-2 aggregate.
“Thankfully the agony of the cup is over for another season” commented Manager Botha as the team was cleaning out its locker room at Aero Arena in Jekerger.
“Until the Big Three are eliminated in the early rounds and the playing field opens up, Transvaal will never take any of these cup competitions seriously. Apart from training for second-line players, these matches serve no real purpose except to fill the coffers of the same dominant teams every year.”
“Our club wishes Dun Carrig Bohs and FC Jekerger all the best in the semi-final round and nothing would be better for this league than a Dun Carrig-Jekerger final.”
While the Starting 11 for Transvaal may not take El Invierno Clásico seriously, those benchwarmers getting cherished first-team starts did. Most notably, Neil Northfield – an early contender for most improved player on the team – scored both goals for Transvaal in the round, making the second-line substitute now the current leading scorer this season on the Springboks and in the Invierno Clásico with his 6 goals in 6 matches.
“I’m sure many teams look at our roster and wonder how I continue to keep my spot on the Springboks at my age, but this season has shown everyone that I can perform if given chances” said Northfield after the match. “I’ve been over-achieving the last two matches I’ve played and I have yet to hit my peak form, so I am really looking forward to what I do as the season progresses.”
DECEMBER 29, 2009 - ’Boks upset shocker versus Arcadia FC
Transvaal Springboks only managed 3 shots against the defensive wall put up by Arcadia FC but nevertheless managed to make the most of them, sinking the ball past keeper Hector Horwarth on the road to their upset 2-1 victory at Arcadian Stadium. The win was only the Springboks’ second competitive win (out of eight matches) against Arcadia FC on the road, the first and only other occurrence coming last March in Season 5.
“What really impressed me today was how we salvaged a win despite the odds stacked up against us” said an overjoyed Manager Bartnel Botha to the waiting press after the final whistle. “Beating Arcadia FC at home or away is never easy to do, but frankly, our squad could have performed even better. Our midfield form – which is where we generally win most of our games – has been pretty flat across the board as of late and we suffered a critical injury on our defence which could have been exploited but wasn’t. But we could have done even better, guys like Detlef Botha who seems to always excel against Arcadia FC seemed mediocre today.”
“As this season has unfolded, I am realising more and more that our squad has major problems recovering form after the off-season layoff. It has certainly affected our play in the opening weeks.”
Fullback Nathan Archibald is now projected to be out until January 23 and his long absence will force Manager Botha to revamp his game plans as he tries to fill the large, vacant hole. “Nathan will likely miss the next seven matches, so this is now when we need guys like McGorry, Froggnarson, and Cetshwayo Ngwane to find their peak form and step up to the plate. We may also try out Emmanuel Hörtnagl or Göran von Knorring on the defensive line as I want to see both of them get more play this year but the second-line defencemen will of course get first crack if they are prepared.”
In regards to Ngwane, the 16-year-old was a last minute substitute replacement for McGorry – who is still suffering the nagging, lingering effects of his injury last month – but the Zulu phenom made the most of an unexpected opportunity and held his ground firm against the formidable Arcadian offense. “When Manager Botha signed me, he said that I would see action against the bottom half sides, I never expected I would face one of the Big Three this early.”
“What troubles me now is after such a critical victory, we are now heading into a six-game stretch where we need to snag as many points as we can before facing the Big Three for the rematches in February. The injury could not have come at a worse time – although likewise at least the second-line will now see a lot more playing time as that was also a concern of mine as the season wore on. One problem has been replaced by another.”
DECEMBER 30, 2009 - January 5 is Dick Witchge Day
One of just three original Springbok players still with the club, veteran midfielder Dick Witchge will reach legendary status when he takes to the field on January 5 against Spartak MK in his 100th match in Liga Mundo. In recognition of this great achievement, Loftus Versfeld Stadium will be renamed Dick Witchge Stadium for this match.
Witchge will join fullback Joep Boekweg, another original Springbok, as one of the club’s legendary players. The third original Bokke, Henk Schot, is expected to play his 100th match against Keville United on either January 19 or January 26.
“When I was signed by the club as part of its expansion roster, I never expected I would make it to 100 games, the amount of time required makes it seem like some far off event in the future” said the normally reserved Witchge. “At one point during the off-season, when Bert van der Meer was sold, I wasn’t sure if I would be back with the club either as I was floated on the transfer wires. Manager Botha has since told me that baring any outstanding junior prospects which might come along, it’s a very good chance I’ll retire with the club. That is an even harder achievement to do, to remain in peak playing form that long. The Springboks are a tough club for guys to maintain a roster spot for those whom are in their 30s.”
One of the great midfielders in Transvaler football, when asked who he saw as the future midfielder greats he quickly pointed out Detlef Botha. “That guy may act like a clown at times, but it’s all show to throw off his opponents. That kid is hard as nails on the field, but also backs up his toughness by walking the walk and popping the goals in. I see him in his twilight years being one of the greatest players this country has produced and probably leading all club records. But two other youngsters to keep an eye on are Mark Verwayen and Emmanuel Hörtnagl. Both of them constantly struggle for regular playing time but always make the most of their chances. Mark is having another career season and Hörtnagl is on the verge of being a first-line starter. When he does reach that point, I see him becoming one of the anchor players on our future midfield along with Detlef Botha and Stien van Buyten, who seems to be struggling the past season or so.”
JANUARY 6, 2010 - Transvaal struggle with another draw
Transvaal Springboks were unable to capitalise on the momentum from their massive away win at Arcadia FC last week and instead came out sputtering in their 2-2 draw versus Spartak MK. The ’Boks only managed to steal the single point in the table due to an own goal by veteran Ramón Perez but apart from an early penalty save by Thurston Alderton and a long range snipe from Emmanuel Hörtnagl, there was little for the home crowd to cheer for.
Lost amongst the malaise on the pitch was the fact that Dick Witchge was playing in his century match – although the 32-year-old veteran midfielder looked disinterested for the most part and downplayed his effort on the field. Probably the best effort on Monday was seen from Olav Froggnarson, who performed well as a replacement for the injured fullback Nathan Archibald. If anything, Frogngnarson’s play was as good as anything from Archibald this season – who has been somewhat of a disappointment so far with his poor form, injuries, and suspension at the start of the campaign.
While not displaying downright disappointing performance like in Season 6, the Springboks seem to be stuck for another middle of the pack finish. While looking competent most games, and often getting an early momentum, the team doesn’t seem to have much finish by the end of their matches to secure the full three points.
JANUARY 11, 2010 - Springboks in flux
One of the more conservative clubs in Liga Mundo when it comes to roster stability, in recent days there has been a flurry of rumours and breaking stories out of Loftus Versfeld as uncertainly spills out from the ’Boks club house.
It is now officially confirmed that long-time back-up Göran von Knorring is on his way out after Manager Bartnel Botha placed him on the transfer wires yesterday and has since received two offers. Von Knorring has always struggled in the long shadow of Thurston Alderton, although concerns regarding his ability as a starter seemed to be laid to rest last season when Alderton came down with injury early in Liga Mundo Season 6.
However since François Théron was acquired in July, it appears Von Knorring became the odd-man out as the younger Théron is groomed as a future starter once Alderton retires. Von Knorring spent the better part of four seasons with Die Bokke but neither fans nor management really warmed up to the Swedish keeper.
Club management confirmed this morning that talks with Atlético Luz Del Mar regarding acquiring midfield prospect Arlindo Kaká were broken off by Transvaal. It appeared yesterday that the Springboks were close to cutting legendary midfielder Dick Witchge, another veteran struggling on and off the pitch this season, and signing Kaká for an undisclosed sum. Manager Botha said to the press that ‘we withdrew our offer after we promoted Milan Bosch to the senior team – we could not afford weakening ourselves by dropping Witchge and picking up yet another project player. Besides, some of the board of directors had serious issues signing a player whose name sounds like ‘sh-t’ in Afrikaans.”
That segues into the third event: the unexpected release of promising Tsawna forward GB Bathoen (who had probably the longest name in Liga Mundo history) and the sudden promotion of 18-year-old Milan Bosch.
“We had invested a lot of time and patience into the development of GB Bathoen, but when you suddenly have a better player land on your plate who is also younger, you have to take a hard look and figure out when and where to cut your losses. We had expected that at this point Bathoen would be on the level of, say, Niel Northfield, but his progress has been much, much slower than anticipated. With Milan, we get a young speedster that has more potential. We’re currently viewing him as an understudy of Balthazar Botha.”
“It is quite possible that GB Bathoen may end up appearing at some point with NVK Kaapstad Hornets in the Nordreich Liga, which has already signed three former Springbok players: Ricardo van Deinsen, Dingiswayo Ngwane, and former UCFA Champions League star midfielder Dakarai Baako – who struggled in Liga Mundo but has since undergone a huge career rejuvenation in the Nordreich Liga.
JANUARY 16, 2010 - Legend departs in wake of youth signing
Last week against Spartak MK, original Springbok midfielder Dick Witchge played in his 100th match. That match has now turned out to be his last, as Manager Bartnel Botha released the moody midfielder legend after seven seasons with Transvaal.
“It was a tough, really tough decision to make – but Dick had been struggling on the pitch in the last three seasons and it was becoming clear this season that our younger players like Mark Verwayen and Emmanuel Hörtnagl were now overtaking him in performance and production. I could not guarantee him the playing time he wanted when in return all we got this season was 2 assists. As well, I needed to start thinking about slowly easing in some third generation players into our midfield for down the road.”
With the money we made on the Göran von Knorring transfer this week, we finally had some cashflow to scout out the transfer wires to bring in some capable youth players.
One of those players is Arlindo Kaká, who was acquired yesterday from Atlético Luz Del Mar for $850,000. The second one in question turned out to be 20-year-old Hendrik van Schou.
“I had spoken with ALDM last weekend to sound them out about Kaká. We were very, very close to a deal but then our side backed out when we got wind through our scouts about a cheaper midfield also with qualities we were looking for.”
“However when Von Knorring was sold in what was our biggest transfer receipt to date, we had to money to seriously consider Kaká again. One half of me was nagging me that this was too good an opportunity to turn down while my other half was nagging me about being loyal to our players.”
“One area I wanted to reinforce was our free-kicking unit. Right now it’s basically Deltef Botha and Cuthbert McGorry – but McGorry hasn’t seen much action this season due to injuries and poor form and certainly no matches as our kicker. Kaká has the potential to become a viable and bonafide back-up for Detlef when Detlef is injured or suspended.”
“As for van Schou, he is probably a year or two older than what we were looking for, however he was going for a bargain and what he can bring to the table will in the future really benefit the Springboks style of play. He is another tough-as-nails takes-no-prisoners player similar to Detlef Botha except he also has a great coolness about him. And even at his young age, he has a real leadership presence about him that in four or five seasons, all this combined will make him into a great play-making captain. Yes, a very interesting player to behold. I look forward to see what he can do in Liga Mundo. Detlef has already told me he cannot wait to start practicing with him”.
JANUARY 19, 2010 - ’Boks return to form at Loftus Versfeld
Transvaal Springboks finally looked like their old selves today in a convincing 3-1 defeat of Keville United. Matthias Rieger, who has been almost invisible for much of the season, scored twice and the set up Hendrik van Schou’s first goal in the rookie’s senior debut. For his strong effort, Rieger picked up the captaincy and lone ’Boks spot on this week’s X11 team while Botha received manager of the week accolades.
“After dropping points to Jekerger and a lacklustre effort against Spartak MK, admittedly there was some concern heading into today’s match against Keville United,” said Manager Bartnel Botha. “They have risen fast in their short time since joining Liga Mundo and in our previous league and cup meetings, they have always been a troublesome opponent to get past. Considering our problems with form the past few weeks during training and that Keville is currently one of the most athletic squads in the Primera Liga, I was worried they would run circles around us.”
“The rematch next week in their own barn will be difficult, although it will be the first match this season we will have our entire starting-eleven healthy, fit, and available. Today we were missing Detlef Botha to suspension and we should have Nathan Archibald back and ready to go after missing three matches due to his nasty injury he picked up at Arcadia last month.”
Cuthbert McGorry and Hendrik van Schou were the second-line reinforcements today and both players performed well. McGorry had been struggling to regain form since his early season injury but today had his strongest performance to date – while Hendrik van Schou got the nod over Arlindo Kaká for the fifth midfielder spot and re-paid by bagging his first goal off a Matthias Rieger corner.
JANUARY 26, 2010 - Springboks sweep Keville
A lone penalty goal from Emmanuel Hörtnagl was all Transvaal Springboks could manage against a stingy Keville defense today, but Manager Bartnel Botha was nevertheless very pleased with the end result – sweeping the difficult Keville United side in the mid-season doubleheader.
“1-0 might be a little too narrow for a comfort margin but considering the problems we have had in the past with them, bagging all six points against Keville this season is a great, positive boost for this club” said Botha at post-game media conference at Wooley Drive.
Thurston Alderton faced 5 shots in his shutout while his opposite Kieran Fifer was good for 75% save average against the visitors.
Detlef Botha picked up a late red card – he had earlier brought down fullback Rene Lobadov in the opening minutes – which will have major ramifications for the upcoming cup draw versus Atlético Vinilandês – meaning Cuthburt McGorry or Arlindo Kaká will take over the freekicking duties.
Many of the Bokke faithful are anticipating Kaká will finally make his eagerly-awaited debut in the bottle green and gold since being acquired from Atlético Luz Del Mar a little over a week ago. ‘Poopie’, as Arlindo has been affectionately nicknamed by the ’Boks players and fans, may face immediate pressure and scrutiny if he has to step into the set-play duties normally assigned to Detlef Botha.
JANUARY 27, 2010 - Mid-season report card
With the Liga Mundo campaign halfway in the bag, Transvaler Daaglikse Sportnuus now looks at the seven awards normally handed out by the club management and predicts who we think may end up winning silverware at the end of the season:
Prospect of the Season: NGWANE - Even though forward Milan Bosch has yet to see any senior playing time, the sheer potential of youngster Cetshwayo Ngwane is simply too overwhelming to ignore. Easily the best talent the club has landed since Detlef Botha four seasons ago - if not, even better than the chippy headhunter - strong off-season development progress could put serious pressure on the longterm feasibility to retain either McGorry or Froggnarson on the fullback.
Rookie of the Season: NGWANE or VAN SCHOU – Too close to call as there are five players in contention for rookie honours - although Nathan Archibald, whose play has been mediocre at best, hardly counts as a rookie considering his tenure playing for the Springboks in the UCFA. Van Schou has only played one match but has already impressed management. Ngwane’s accolades have already been mentioned. Strong debuts by ‘Poopie’ Kaká and Milan Bosch could make this a real horserace, but the favourite right now is Ngwane.
Most Improved Player: HÖRTNAGL or NORTHFIELD – After three seasons playing in the shadows as a substitute, Emmanuel Hörtnagl is currently in the midst of a breakout season and solidifying his position as a starter. He has taken the scoring lead on the Boks and it’s possible Emms could eclsipse his entire, previous points total this season. On the attack, Neil Northfield was brought in last season as a temporary fix but his strong scoring play in the El Invierno Clásico has cemented his staying power with the club despite questions surrounding his playing skill at this level. Edge to Hörtnagl as Northfield’s playing time has been mostly in the cup runs against sub-par squads.
Forward of the Season: NORTHFIELD – With veterans Charles Brennan and Balthazar Botha having mediocre production this season, Northfield’s unexpected overachievement in the cup runs gives him the favourite’s nod.
Fullback of the Season: BOEKWEG – The Springboks fullback line is solid, reliable, but generally unremarkable. Nathan Archibald has been disappointing so far, but yet not quite bad enough to brand him an outright bust. That leaves Joep ‘Radar’ Boekweg and captain Leon Hooiber, with the always dependable legend getting the nod over Captain Leon.
Midfielder of the Season: HÖRTNAGL – Rieger and Detlef have been struggling for goals this season while Henk Schot and Stien van Buyten both seem to coast along most games avoiding anyone’s attention, leaving the two midfield substitutes battling it out for the bridemaid’s honours. Mark Verwayen has had a strong first half but started dipping the last couple of week while Hörtnagl has slowly and steadily gained steam. Nod goes to Hörtnagl due to his versatility as both a competent playmaker in a pinch and penalty kicker.
Player of the Season: ALDERTON or HÖRTNAGL – Thurston Alderton is consistently one of the best goalkeepers in Liga Mundo and has been the backbone of the Springboks for many, many seasons. He carried them to the championship two seasons ago and if the Boks are able to mount a late-season season surge up the table, then it’ll be on account of him. Hörtnagl gets consideration on account of his career season and always making 150% of his often-limited playing time.
JANUARY 30, 2010 - Poopie impresses in debut
Arlindo Kaká has never said ‘no’ when staring down the face of intense pressure.
No pressure that in his first senior match for Atlético Luz Del Mar, the 18-year-old product of the Costa Libertad junior system went on as a substitute replacing no other than the colossal Lois Luis. No pressure that in his first match for the Springboks, he had to replace the South African headhunter known as Detlef Botha. No pressure that he has had to endure frequent, vocal heckling over a surname that sounds a lot like ‘crap’ to Afrikaner ears.
No pressure at all.
In yesterday’s decisive away victory against Atlético Vinilandês in the opening round of the Copa Legada, Kaká and the rest of the Baby Bokkies were able to shine and show their supporters and detractors why they are the future of the club.
In a line-up that featured Ngwane (substitute), Van Schou, Bosch and ‘Poopie’ Kaká, the two midfielders each picked up impressive assists to help their new club in the 3-0 win. Mark Verwayen was the target man for both plays, with Van Schou setting up the high-flying midfielder in the penalty area a few minutes after the start of the second half – followed around twenty minutes later when Kaká crossed the ball in for Verwayen’s header past Amílcar Tomar.
In between the two goals was yet another Neil Northfield cup tally as he hammered home an outside cracker from a Captain Hooiber clear out of the back field.
Thurston Alderton was yet again at the top of his game as he collected his second shutout of the season and third win in a row for Die Bokke – good enough to see him named to the weekly X11 squad along with Joep Boekweg.
Next up for Transvaal is a home match versus FC Jekerger, a squad which the ’Boks have dropped all three matches this season – although granted that two of those meetings were cup matches which intentionally weak line-ups were fielded by the Green and Gold.
“It should prove to be an interesting game as well be home at Loftus Versfeld – not one of the friendlier stadiums to visit – and they’ll be facing our strongest starting line-up yet this season” commented Manager Botha.
FEBRUARY 4, 2010 - ’Boks moved to Namibia after nuke attack
Transvaal Springboks have been evacuated to Namibia after Johannesburg came under nuclear attack this morning. Although civilian casualties are reported to be light, in the face of widespread anarchy the Witwatersrand capital region has since been deemed ‘unsafe’ and ‘off-limits’ – making Loftus Versfeld unavailable for tomorrow’s cup match versus Atlético Vinilandês.
In the face of national tragedy, Vedder League X11 side Windhoek Welwitschia has once again offered their dilapidated stadium, known as The Khomasdal, as a temporary home to the Springboks.
“After today’s devastating attacks, the club executive considered disbanding or moving to a safe location outside of Transvaal, but after receiving a telephone call from Staatspresident Botha himself, who has specifically requested that the club continues operations within the Republic of Transvaal for the sake of national morale, we have now relocated to Windhoek in Namibia for the duration of this war” said Manager Bartnel Botha in a hurried statement made after arrival at Windhoek’s airport.
FEBRUARY 8, 2010 - Baby Boks hang on for cup draw
After taking a 3-0 lead, the Transvaal Springboks held out for a draw as Atlético Vinilandês struck back with three goals in the later half of the match. The final 3-3 result in front of a capacity crowd of 10,300 at Windhoek’s Khomasdal Stadium was still enough for the Springboks to advance 6-3 on aggregate to the second round of the Copa Legada as Transvaal had a 3-0 win in their pockets from their first meeting at Atlético Vinilandês the week before.
With the luxury of a 3-0 away win, Manager Bartnel Botha decided to go with a line-up featuring the Baby Boks while the starting veterans were rested up for the up-coming league tilt versus Spartak MK. “I was very pleased with the outcome considering this was probably the youngest squad we could have started with,” said Manager Botha. “Back-up keeper François Théron was hot and cold but the rest of the youngsters did pretty well for the most part. The fullback line performed much better than expected and Arlindo Kaká had another strong game.”
The handful of veterans which did start – namely Detlef Botha, Emmanuel Hörtnagl, and Stien van Buyten – were solid on midfield and kept the kids focused while Niel Northfield continued his cup-scoring dominance when he picked up a goal and an assist to put him second place behind Dun Carrig’s Steven Bewers for cup goals and points.
FEBRUARY 20, 2010 - Baby Boks beaten by strong Voo effort
Transvaal Springboks were knocked out of the Copa Legada yesterday after dropping the return match 4-2 versus Voobaha National at The Khomasdal. Emmanuel Hörtnagl and Detlef Botha bagged the two goals for the Springboks in a match which featured the Baby Boks out in full force but falling short to stop the impressive Voobaha effort.
“Give all credit to Voobaha National, they wanted the win more than we did and they deserved it” said Manager Bartnel Botha post-game. “Going into the Copa Legada, my strategy was to field our strongest 11 in the away match and the Baby Boks in the home match. And whatever results we got, we’d then move on. It worked in the first round against Atlético Vinilandês where the youngsters held on for a draw – but against Voobaha, that team really wanted to make the next round.”
“I told our guys before the match that I didn’t worry what our result was today, I knew Voobaha would put up a major fight so I wanted to see how all our youngsters would cope under pressure. Admittedly they could have done better, as our defensive game was flat and lacking in most regards. Up front, van Schou and Kaká looked fine and Milan Bosch had his best game to date, picking up his first point when he set up Hörtnagl’s goal.”
Heading into the upcoming matches on the road against VolNation and ALDM, the Springboks look to be in somewhat of a difficult position as they will be missing Detlef Botha at VolNation sitting out another one-game suspension (his fourth red card of the season) while Joep Boekweg will definitely miss the VolNation match and most likely ALDM as well while he continues to be on the sidelines with injuries.
“Midfield I am not too worried about, as we can make changes to compensate for missing Detef, but our defense worries me. I really needed our three veteran fullbacks for these two critical matches and not having Boekweg for either one could well close the door on any faint hopes we had for making a push for the league championship.”
FEBRUARY 26, 2010 - Springboks upset Volunteers
Missing two key players in their line-up, Transvaal Springboks somehow managed to find themselves with a commanding 3-0 lead at halftime before coughing up two goals to VolNation but hanging on to the slim lead before running completely out of gas at the final whistle. The 3-2 win was just the second by Transvaal at Neyland Stadium in 9 matches – the last coming some 11 months ago during the Springboks championship run in Season 5.
“It was certainly not a result I was expecting, as our two clubs have a history of difficulty at each other’s home grounds” said a pleased Manager Bartnel Botha during this morning’s training session. “I don’t know what was up with VolNation yesterday – only their manager can answer that for sure – but they should have been all over us considering we did not have Joep Boekweg nor Detlef Botha in the line-up. I suspect it came down to goalkeeping, as Nana Emedec looked unusually shaky on the few shots we had against him.”
Emmanuel Hörtnagl set up Stien van Buyten and Henk Schot for the ’Boks first two goals but what would end up being the game winner came courtesy of an own-goal from Alecko Eskandarian. The unlucky forward later erased the mishap when he beat Thurston Alderton late in the second half to put the homeside to within one, building on Arthur Basso’s earlier tally in the second half.
The away win propelled Transvaal into first place but with the top-five places separated by 4 points, Manager Botha felt that it would be difficult for the Springboks to hold on. “We’re a game ahead to most of the competition and our guys are taking a pounding right now with injuries – we just lost Charles Brennan now for four weeks. Yes we do seem to have some sort of momentum going now and our boys are playing their hearts out, but realistically our roster looks like swiss cheese. At this point I would be impressed with a top-three finish and a good progress report for next season.”
MARCH 10, 2010 - Grudgefest between Duckies and ’Boks
The blood was flowing in buckets today at The Khomasdal where Transvaal Springboks hosted 1984 Duckies FC. The visitors walked away with a 2-0 win but both teams lost notable veterans to injuries.
Arlindo Kaká, who started today in a surprising role playing up as a forward replacement for the injured Charles Brennan, took down Shorash Rashmati of the Duckies half an hour into the match. The Springboks then lost two players from retaliations, after Henk Schot left the match early into the second half. Karl Reimar Pedersen was then later booked after he went headhunting after Arlindo Kaká. “Poopie” Kaká will recover in a few days but Schot is probably gone for the season.
“Pretty pitiful refereeing today” exclaimed Manager Bartnel Botha, “Warren Peace couldn’t keep any control whatsoever with the players and now we have two injuries to deal with”. Detlef Botha went ape at the final whistle and tried to pick fights with both R Pedersen and Kenny Mahony at the same time but was restrained by the stewards; Referee Peace assessed him a yellow card for his disturbances.
MARCH 15, 2010 - An uneasy wait
Transvaal Springboks have the bye this week and the long wait for their season finale at The Khomasdal versus Swamplandia Sinners has some players wondering if that will be their last in the bottle green and gold.
“This will be a very interesting progress report for us, and three or four players are on the hotseat for improvement - or else” said a subdued Manager Botha today.
“The biggest spotlight is on our fullbacks and how well Cetshwayo Ngwane progresses during the off-season. His status is safe beyond a doubt but if he has an outstanding improvement, it will put a lot of pressure on both Olav Froggnarson and Cuthbert McGorry to bring their game up a few notches. Between the two, McGorry is the better package player looking ahead for long-term however he has been hampered by two major injuries the past two seasons which has stunted his expected progress. Both players were expected to improve notably heading into this season – however neither did and that hurt us some games when we faced injuries with our three veterans.”
While midfield looks set, the attack still has some nagging concerns with depth – namely how long Neil Northfield will be retained at the expense of signing a younger player of similar talent?
“If Northfield did not have that outstanding performance seen in our first cup run, he probably would have been dealt by now. However, the fact is he has outshone all our other forwards. We cannot cut him if he is more than pulling his weight and our two starting forwards are not.”
Lastly, there is some concern in grooming a replacement for Thurston Alderton. It is no secret that Transvaal Springboks have relied on having the league’s best goalkeeper for a majority of their wins (as well as their Season 5 championship) but many inside and outside the club don’t think François Théron will be ready in time when Alderton eventually hangs up his cleats.
“Our biggest worry is facing the day when Thurston walks into my office and tells me he won’t be back next season. I dread that day – but thankfully it isn’t happening this season”
MARCH 25, 2010 - Championship at The Khomasdal
In what was expected to be the final Liga Mundo match played at The Khomasdal in Windhoek – before Springboks make their return to Loftus Versfeld next season – the Swamplandia Sinners capped off a cinderella season with a solid 4-1 victory against the Transvaal Springboks to win the Championship for Liga Mundo Season 7.
Emmanuel Hörtnagl scored from a penalty kick in the 85th minute for Transvaal’s lone goal in an otherwise outclassed effort from the Springboks – who opted to go with a starting line-up heavy with junior talent.
“This upcoming off-season and progress report will be critical for us in a number of ways. We have a lot of questions and concerns to deal with as we head into Season 8. We want to make some last assessments with some players this afternoon,” said Manager Bartnel Botha during a brief pre-match interview.
And the biggest question mark hanging over the team right now is how well Cetshwayo Ngwane will do during the off-season and pre-season training – and just how will that affect the rest of the Springbok defense?
As for the game at hand, The Khomasdal was filled to capacity as fans came far and wide to see what was being carded as the title match. Much to the visitors’ surprise, there was a large and vocal group of local supporters who turned out to cheer Swamplandia on to victory. Many of those fans pulling for the Sinners were supporters (and players!) from Vedder League side Windhoek Welwitschia, who call The Khomasdal their home.
“You always want to win in front of your own fans, so this being a road game for them, we tried to make them feel as welcome and at home as possible” said Welwitschia star fullback Boyke Chan Carl.
As the final minute ticked down and the realization and excitement of victory began to sink in with the Sinner players, the game basically came to a stop as the Springboks began to congratulate their opposites.
“We’ve been there before and know just how special it is to win the Liga Mundo title, so we could not but be pleased to see them finally have their day in the sun” said midfielder Mark Verwayen.
“This is a team which has faced a lot of obstacles over the years, started down relegation, and always been downplayed by other clubs” said Detlef Botha. “You know, it might have been a loss for us today – but it is just one loss, and I think our league has gained so much today from this one win by Swamplandia. This is a good day for the league.”
A party atmosphere soon took over the dusty Khomasdal grounds, as players from the Windhoek Welwitschia club unlocked the doors to their Biltongboere Social Club located next to the stadium and invited in players from both teams for a cold pint and relax from the oppressive heat. Windhoek keepers Gil Sá and Manos Torgo soon had the braais lit and served up dinner for players and management.
APRIL 5, 2010 - Springbok Awards Night
At the club awards dinner held on Saturday night, the Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and club executive of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 7 player accomplishments:
- Player of the Season: Emmanuel Hörtnagl
- Fullback of the Season: Joep Boekweg
- Midfielder of the Season: Emmanuel Hörtnagl
- Forward of the Season: Neil Northfield
- Most Improved Player: Emmanuel Hörtnagl
- Rookie of the Season: Cetshwayo Ngwane
- Prospect of the Season: Cetshwayo Ngwane
Season 8 PrimeraEdit
APRIL 16, 2010 - Manager disappointed with new transfer
Transvaal Springboks released midfielder Hendrik van Schou on Wednesday after the midfielder had a promising season but failed to improve enough during the off-season to maintain his spot on the roster.
With the open spot and management chronically concerned about the future replacement for Thurston Alderton when the star goalkeeper retires, Manager Bartnel Botha once again tried to address those long-term concerns and decided to take a risk on bidding for a what looked like a bargain third keeper.
That risk ended up being a major bust when Felix Esterhuizen reported for training yesterday.
“The scouting reports we got for Esterhuizen prove to be completely false – and I just blew close to R2,000,000 on a player probably worth a fifth of that” said an exasperated and frustrated Manager Botha.
However his new team mates were quick to defend Estherhuizen. “Let’s give the kid a chance before passing judgement, as this club has a history of bringing out the best in those players otherwise derided by critics as ‘lacking’” commented captain Leon Hooiber.
While Hooiber is correct when assessing outfield players, the Springboks have been a notoriously unkind team for goalkeepers. Apart from the stalwart fixture Alderton, it has been a revolving door over seven seasons in the never-ending quest for a suitable back-up – although François Théron will probably last where the likes of Patric Krejk, Thanos Sietaridis, Göran von Knorring, and Daniel Abanda have come and gone… and Pim Venema – anyone, anyone?
Esterhuizen avoided attempts by the media to be interviewed – but was quoted by another player who said ‘don’t blame me, blame the scouts.’
APRIL 29, 2010 - Bend it like Botha
Detlef Botha’s second half freekick past Claus Holten was all it took this evening for Transvaal Springboks to open their Primera Liga season with a win versus 1984 Duckies FC. In a fairly uneventful match, Die Bokke had 7 shots against Holten while Thurston Alderton held fast for the 3 Duckie attempts on net. Detlef Botha’s goal prove once again what a deadly threat he is from the set-plays.
“Holten is one of the hardest keepers around to read reactions, sometimes with him it just boils down to luck” said Detlef commenting on the goal.
Manager Bartel Botha made an interesting game-time shake-up for play maker when he opted to utilise second-string fullback Olav Froggnarson up on the midfield line.
“A couple of our midfielders were looking a little sluggish during warm-up, and Froggie has been training well the past couple of weeks. I needed our three strongest fullbacks out there today but I also wanted to take advantage of Froggie at his very peak – so I thought ‘what the heck, let’s see what he can do as a midfielder?’ Anticipating that our most obvious players would be shadowed, it then became very tempting to use his as our set-up man. It worked very well today and probably contributed to our good performance. The scoreline was a little narrow for my liking against Duckies, but I’ll take any winning result after the final whistle has blown.”
Joop Boekweg left the match early in the second half but is expected to be back in the line-up in a few days.
MAY 2, 2010 - Baby Boks win in shootout
Transvaal Springboks have a reputation for taking cup matches lightly. Today looked to be no exception as Manager Bartnel Botha went with a Baby Boks line-up in their second round Copa Del Mar match-up against Atlético Vinilandês. It appeared that Transvaal was going to go through all the motions of an early cup exit. What was not expected was an exciting 6-4 shoot-out win against the high-flying Vinilandês side.
The scoreline during regulation time was close throughout. When one team went up by a goal, the other would come back two minutes later and even it up again. Neil Northfield got the Springboks on the scoreboard just past the half-hour mark but the lead evaporated when Montes Pinardi beat Felix Esterhuizen (who was making his debut for Transvaal) on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute.
Atlético beat Esterhuizen again from a deadball play in the second half when Aníbal Paiva booted a beautiful cannonball into net and went up 2-1 – however Detlef Botha set-up heading ace Mark Verwayen in the 55th minute to equalize the score at 2-all.
The game began to get nasty and ugly when Detlef Botha was ejected from the match in the 76th minute after he ran down Vinilandês keeper Amílcar Tomar. Ten minutes later saw Atlético Vinilandês retaliating against Felix Esterhuizen in revenge although midfielder Rúben Braz would remain in the match albeit with a yellow card to his name.
The match thus went into extra time with both back-up keepers - Elvio Cabanas and François Théron – now in net.
With the match still stuck at a 2-2 draw after a relatively uneventful 30 minutes of extra time, a shootout was then needed to decide the outcome. Transvaal would find the net 4 times compared to 2 for Atlético Vinilandês, although most notable was that both keepers found themselves in the kicking line-up and scoring on each other from the penalties.
“This was a great effort by our boys”, said Manager Botha after the final whistle. “Atlético Vinilandês are a good Segunda side and with the line-up we went with today, they should have beaten us. I thought that when we lost Detlef in the second half, we were done. However our youngsters really dug in today and wanted to fight for the win to prove themselves – and so I’m pretty impressed with the result”.
MAY 10, 2010 - Nordreich Rivals meet in Copa Del Mar
When it was announced that Transvaal Springboks and Nordheim Badgers would meet in the third round of the Copa Del Mar, it generated quite a buzz amongst the soccer fans in Nordreich after Baron Zemo of Nordheim publicly challenged Botha on the Nordreich forums to field his best team.
The upstart Nordheim Badgers did not have to eat their words as they defeated a much stronger Springboks team 2 goals to 1. For most of the match, the Badgers held a 2-goal lead until playmaker Stien van Buyten headed the ball past Charlie Almkvist to roll the Badgers lead back by one.
Die Bokke dominated for possession but the Nordheim defense was able to negate much of the Transvaler attack. But ultimately the match came down to location and goaltending.
“It was a goaltenders’ duel out there, and Almkvist won it” commented Manager Botha. “Also I think playing outside the confines of our home ground affected our performance, if this match was at Loftus Versfeld I think the result would have been much different, because we did out perform the Badgers apart from in goal.”
Transvaal went with starting François Théron over Thurston Alderton in net, which was probably the Boks’ Achilles heel – although heading into the match, starting Théron seemed to be the smarter gameplan.
“Thurston wasn’t looking that great during training this week, in fact he had been pretty flat since our defeat versus Arcadia, while François seemed to be on the verge of having a career game – so I opted to go with François. Unfortunately he really kakked the bed today, which was a huge shock as he generally does pretty well in cup matches. Meanwhile his opposite on Nordheim did very well.”
“I don’t think Nordheim won the match through their efforts so much as we lost it due to our sub-par performance in net.”
MAY 21, 2010 - Springboks make more moves in goal
Transvaal Springboks manager Bartnel Botha unceremoniously jettisoned third goalkeeper Felix Esterhuizen on Wednesday in what was seen as an inevitable, impending move.
Ever since Esterhuizen was acquired last month based on inaccurate scouting reports, the negativity and fallout surrounding the transaction had cursed the unfortunate player in Manager Botha’s opinion as the unimpressed boss then wanted to cut all ties as quick as possible which what was deemed a major signing bust.
Esterhuizen played in only one game for Die Bokke – allowing in 2 goals on 6 shots although the injury prone keeper did not last the entire match; he left the game hurt in what would become a crtical switch of opportunity - replaced by back-up François Théron who backstopped for a 6-4 shoot-out win for Transvaal.
Yesterday, some of that negativity was erased when 17-year-old Lourenço Caetano, who hails from Maputo in Mozambique, was purchased from local amateur side Maputo Mambas for half his true value on the open market. The signing also has some off-field nuances, as Manager Botha stated during the press conference “...that the Springboks had for quite some time wanted to have a Mozambican on the roster as a means to encourage and develop that country as a pool for future player talent.”
Although very young and inexperienced at playing at such a high level as Liga Mundo, Caetano displays all the potential to become another Thurston Alderton many seasons from now.
“Yes he is probably the most inexperienced and skilled goalkeeper in Primera Liga right now, possibly even the entire league – however his youthfulness gives him the advantage to quickly develop. After the frustration we had with Esterhuizen, this is now a route I am will to risk. We want to build long-term, and our club’s plan is to have a six year or so age gap between keepers so that by the time our starter retires, we have a capable replacement as well as a capable back-up on hand. Caetano now fits perfectly into that plan.”
He then added: “We have had more luck through gradual development and player nurturing than simply going out for immediate success, big money singings.”
MAY 22, 2010 - VolNation Wins Wild Match
VolNation vs. Transvaal: The sight of this in the boxscores will often lead people to read the latest in this rivalry in the papers or cause people to flood to the gate to watch the spectacle. Often very highscoring, no lead is safe and the game is never over until minutes after the final whistle. The home team carries a tremendous advantage in the final outcomes, but there have also been spectacular upsets as well.
This latest installment - no different! After least season's major upset in Neyland Stadium was pointed to as the reason why the Mighty Volunteers failed to win the title, and all in attendance knew that pride would drive both clubs to intense ferver. Both clubs came out in their classical formations, the chess match was on, and the fireworks began.
The Springboks were the recipients of some early chances, but VolNation keeper Christopher Rojas played stellar, keeping the door locked. These early chances seemed to get under the skin of the Mighty Vols, and they played a very physical math. This type of play paid dividends for the Mighty Vols as left winger Ian Robertson outmuscled his permanent Springbok double-team of right back Nathan Archibald and center back Cetshwayo and headed in a chip from left fullback Ross Stewart for his first goal of the season in the 16th minute.
Apparently Archibald started to yap at Robertson after the goal, to which the always tough Robertson replyed with a vicious shot after play resumed. End result was a yellow for Robertson, though 'Boks fans screamed for a red since Archibald had to leave the match and be replaced with Joop Boekweg. Retaliation was not far behind, as center mid Stien van Buyten took out the VolNation captain Arthur Basso four minutes later with a slick hard tackle that aised the ire of the VolNation fans but not the yellow card of Laura Norder. In a not-so-subtle move, Coach Philip sent in VolNation enforcer Dustin Conner to replace the injured Basso, and the game was on.
Both clubs proceeded to trade unsuccessful shots on goal. Then in the 33rd minute, the expected comeback tackle from Conner left the young midfielder Arlindo Kaká grabbing his ankle and saw Transvaal send in the VolNation killer Detlef Botha to replace him. This move would prove to be brilliance on the Transvaal side later in the match.
Robertson continued to exploit the double-team assigned to him, as he got the young Ngwane to push him just inside the box right before the half, and Norder pointed to the spot. With Robertson taking the penalty, the outcome was inevitable: 2-0 VolNation.
The second half started with a greater intensity, but a bit more control given the cards and injuries inflicted in the first half. The Mighty Vols bit first in the 57th minute, and it was golden as the goal generator that is right mid Michael Pitts added yet another goal to his young but stellar resume on a sliding shot inside the box that found net: 3-0.
Even though VolNation slapped a tight mark on Detlef Botha the moment he stepped on the pitch, all knew from past history that it was just a matter of time before he did serious damage. By keeping Detlef out of the early tussle, manager Bartnel Botha kept Detlef fresh and more importantly unhurt. Detlef got his first crack at goal via one way he could break the mark on him, via free kick, and he whistled one past a normally excellent free kick stopper in Rojas. 3-1
The Springbok comback was officially on, and in the 82nd minute, the 'Boks got another chance as forward Balthazar Botha got center back Johnny Gilliam called inside the box with an Emmy-winning performance that left Gilliam visibly frustrated.Keeper Thurston Alderton trotted up to the spot and delivered an expertly placed PK. 3-2
Gilliam was incensed at the call and two minutes later, after a deep Springbok lob went past the back line, Norder called last touch on Gilliam and awarded a corner to Transvaal. Gilliam went ballistic and received a yellow for his "civilized debate", as Gilliam would later say in the post-match press conference. Detlef struck again from the corner, as he found van Buyten with a perfect ball that van Buyten headed home. 3-3
Shades of the previous match against Transvaal in Neyland Stadium were flashing through the minds of the VolNation fans where the 'Boks chained together consecuting goals to come away with the win, and as the match went into injury time, all fans were at the edge of their seat. The Mighty Vols placed a deep ball into the Transvaal backfield moments after the injury time was announced, and left back Leon Hooiber had to put it past the back line as VolNation right winger Pedro Townsend, who was quietly playing a tremendous game, was about to take it to the goal. Darnell Robersonwas summoned for the corner, a move that created confusion for Transvaal as Roberson usually was the target of these corners. This confusion allowed Roberson to find Conner open in front of the goal, and Conner delivered the game-winning kick.
4-3 VolNation, and sole possession of 1st place.
JUNE 4, 2010 - Die Bokke hit brickwall against Voobaha National
Transvaal Springboks came up against hot goalkeeping in the guise of Cammy Meire as they were stymied by a 4-1 loss to Voobaha National yesterday. Stien van Buyten potted home the lone goal for the Springboks after Detlef Botha fed him off a precision freekick in the 76th minute.
While Voobaha National keeper Meire played the strongest effort seen so far in his short Liga Mundo career, at the other end of the pitch it was a different story as all-star keeper Thurston Alderton continued to struggle between the posts with another mediocre performance.
“Thurston is easily having his worst season we’ve seen, and no one – management nor him – seems to know exactly why. He has had difficulty focusing in training and keeping his form up. However regardless the results, he is still our man in net and we stand by him. All keepers go through slumps at some point or another,” commented Manager Bartnel Botha in the post-game media conference.
Normally the strongest aspect of the Bok’s game, the backfield has looked pretty bland the past few weeks and bleeding more goals than normal. Along with Aldernton, both Joep Boekweg and captain Leon Hooiber have looked disinterested in performance. Overall the team isn’t doing badly on the field – with the midfield constantly overachieving as a unit week in week out – but as a whole the team seems content to muddle towards another mid-table finish.
“There doesn’t seem to be much of a direction this season where the team wants to end up,” said Stien van Buyten earlier in the week after Wednesday’s training session. “This certainly is not a rebuilding season for us, as we now seem to have all the pieces, but we also don’t seem mentally ready yet to make another serious push for the title. Unlike previous seasons where we have a couple of guys on breakout seasons which seem to propel us and build momentum to carry us from game to game, this season no one seems to be really on fire. It feels like the team is fatigued somewhat from the longer than usual schedule.”
Van Buyten, who in all likelihood will play in his 100th match against Keville United on June 17, made a good point as players such as Emmanuel Hörtmagl and Niel Northfield, both who had impressive campaigns in Liga Mundo Season 7, now look lost and unnoticed in Liga Mundo Season 8 – while veterans such as Matthias Rieger and Charles Brennan, who used to terrorise the Primera Liga with their goal-scoring, have gone dry the past two seasons. Even the usually cantankerous Detlef Botha has been quiet with the cards although he is still chugging along on pace for probably his best points production in a season.
JUNE 11, 2010 - Springboks hang on for win over SiPS
Lourenço Caetano made his senior debut for Transvaal Springboks but looked tremendously weak in net as Die Bokke scrapped together a 4-3 win against last-place SiPS.
Two goals came off set-plays against SiPS keeper Hammevik as Emmanuel Hörtnagl booted home a penalty in the first half followed by one of Detlef Botha’s trademark blistering freekicks while forwards Balthazar Botha and Niel Northfield picked up the two other tallies.
The scoreline would have been higher as the outfield ten played quite well overall – but third-stringer Caetano was obviously nervous under major pressure and played poorly as a result. The first player of Portuguese-Mozambican decent to suit up for a Transvaler X11 team, he faced jeers and racial taunts as some in the crowd said that Die Bokke would have done just as good with no keeper in net.
His ‘back-up’ Thurston Alderton however stood up for the 17-year-old rookie, telling the press during the post-game media conference that “...at the end of the day, we won the match and that’s what matters. And Caetano made 3 out 6 saves against some good shooters, so he should look at that to build upon and not listen to those fans who were verbally nasty to him today. After all, very few 17-year-old keepers ever get to play in Liga Mundo – let alone have a Primera Liga start. He’s a good kid who can only get better. One day, fans will look back on this day in disgust for treating him in such a harsh way.”
JUNE 28, 2010 - Baby Boks demolish Artois 7-0
Transvaal Springboks capped off a 9-0 aggregate versus Compostella Artois in the second round of the Copa Cato with a 7-0 drubbing at Loftus Versfeld.
Charles Brennan scored a hat-trick while Emmanuel Hörtnagl picked up a brace of goals to lead the scoring. Milan Bosch and Arlindo Kaká also had strong games as each of them bagged one goal. Also notable was an assist on the opening goal from Bosch, which was set up courtesy of fullback Olav Froggnarson – who finally tallied his first-ever senior point and broke his points-scoring drought after 33 matches.
Third-string keeper Lourenço Caetano had an easy day facing one lone shot in the second half as the 17-year-old picked up his first senior shutout in only his second outing.
The match was a surprisingly clean affair as Transvaal did not pick up a single card.
The Springboks are in the second week of their back-to-back byes and will be resting up for next Sunday’s opening match in the third round against Autumn United. Even though the Cuarta Liga side is outclassed in all areas by Transvaal, Manager Bartnel Botha said that he would not be talking them lightly.
“While I did not expect Compostella to put up much of a fight, I am sure Autumn United will be hunting for an upset. We have never played against them at any level, so I believe the first leg at Autumn Stadium will be the critical match.”
JULY 9, 2010 - Springboks win fourth shutout in a row
The high-flying Transvaal Springboks are on their best run since the open of their championship season in Liga Mundo Season 5, picking up their sixth win in a row yesterday by shutting out Keville United FC by the score of 2-0. The victory is their fourth shutout in a row, having previously defeated Compostella Artois by scores of 2-0 and 7-0 followed with a 4-0 cup win at Autumn United.
Yesterday’s win didn’t come without its costs as Die Bokke lost another veteran player to a major injury. Charles Brennan, the club’s all-time goal and points scorer, picked up a nasty injury late in the game and is now out until August. Stien van Buyten was hurt in the match against Autumn United and will likely miss at least the two upcoming matches.
“It’s possible we may see him back in time for the SiPS rematch – however with SiPS self-destructing on the field after their management informed the Liga the club would be folding at the end of this season, we may not risk using Van Buyten in what will likely be an outing better suited for our second-liners.”
When asked how the team would adjust up front, Manager Botha replied to the press that “…now is the time for Niel Northfield, Balthazar Botha, and Milan Bosch to step up and take lead of the unfortunate situation – but if things start to falter, we may see Emmanuel Hörtnagl moved up to the attack. And the injury is not as dire as some may think, as it was very likely Brennan would be scratched for some of these matches so that Northfield and Bosch could get some regular season playing time. As long as he is back and ready to go when we start our triple-header series against the Big Three, then we are not overtly worried.”
Incredible as it may sound, all-star goalkeeper Thurston Alderton has had no part in these shutout results as back-up François Théron was responsible for three wins and newly-acquired understudy keeper Lourenço Caetano picked up his first shutout in only his second match.
“Théron is having an incredible season for a back-up, proving once again that management has made the right decision to groom him as Alderton’s eventual replacement when he hangs up his boots. He is currently enjoying an 87% save-average – that’s a championship level of play and our coaching staff is very interested to see if he can maintain that high level of play and personal commitment for the rest of the season.”
JULY 23, 2010 - Roster changes at Loftus Versfeld
Neil Northfield was sold yesterday for just over R600,000 after two and a half seasons. During his 31-game stint with Transvaal Springboks, the low-key second-stringer forward acquired somewhat of a surprising reputation as a formidable goal-scorer during cup play – with 12 of his 16 goals bagged in cup matches. However he was never regarded as a potential long-term fixture for the ’Boks therefore his sudden departure comes as no surprise to the Loftus Versfeld faithful.
Prior to joining Liga Mundo, Northfield played two seasons in the old Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging domestic National Liga for his home town of Kimberley. After the NL folded after two seasons, he then moved to Europe and toiled in an assortment of lower semi-pro leagues there before being signed at the age of 27 by Manager Botha in June 2009 as a stop-gap replacement for the then-recently retired Ricardo van Deinsen (who later came out of retirement to sign with Nordreich Liga side NVK Kaapstad Hornets). When playing as a starter, he was usually paired up with Balthazar Botha.
Northfield’s departure made way for the promotion of 19-year-old junior prospect Jakob Kruger. The addition of the hardworking youngster now gives Die Bokke four competent freekickers to choose from although Kruger is not expected to see much action with the set-play duties playing behind Detlef Botha and his understudy Arlindo Kaká.
AUGUST 8, 2010 - Kaká to start in Costa Libertad
Manager Bartnel Botha has confirmed that Arlindo Kaká will be in the starting line-up next Thursday when the Transvaal Springboks clash with Atlético Luz Del Mar at Campo Lois Luis.
Kaká – who hails from Costa Libertad – was acquired by Die Bokke last January from ALDM in one of Liga Mundo’s rare intra-league transfers. An all-round Libertadorian prospect whose strength is in freekicks and suited up for one match for Los Niños, Kaká has since become an understudy of kicking sniper Detlef Botha and has edged out fullback Cuthbert McGorry for back-up spotkick duties when Detlef is injured or suspended.
Kaká has only played against his homeland’s team twice – once in a friendly and once as a late-game substitute – but never in Costa Libertad and there had always been some quiet anticipation whenever Transvaal comes to town whether the homeside fans would finally get to see their own son wearing the bottle green and gold at Campo Lois Luis.
With Detlef Botha’s suspension last week against VolNation, Manager Bartnel Botha confirmed that Kaká would be part of the Die Bokke’s starting eleven:
“Kaká is having a great season for us this year, making great strides in improvement and form despite being in mostly a substitute role. He makes the most of his playing time and has become tied for fourth for goals. He is learning a lot being paired up with Detlef during practices as well as when rooming on the road. With Detlef now out of the line-up this week, it was decided that he had earnt the start and will handle all our freekicks this week. The fact that we are playing ALDM played no part in my decision…” said the manager with a twinkle in his eye.
Season 9 PrimeraEdit
SEPTEMBER 4, 2010 - Springbok Awards Dinner
At the club awards dinner held on Saturday night, the Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and club executive of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 8 player accomplishments:
- Player of the Season: midfielder Detlef Botha
- Fullback of the Season: Joep Boekweg
- Midfielder of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Forward of the Season: Balthazar Botha
- Most Improved Player: Arlindo Kaká
- Rookie of the Season: goalkeeper Lourenço Caetano
- Prospect of the Season: midfielder Arlindo Kaká
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 - Player profile: Joep Boekweg
The first Transvaal player to achieve legendary status, Joep “Radar” Boekweg has been an unassuming force in the Springboks’ backfield for nine seasons now.
In the early days of Liga Mundo, the Boks’ defensive line usually consisted of the punishing cruncher Bert van der Meer, the oft-injured Johann Berger, and the quiet and shy Joep Boekweg.
“We seemed to have an on-going revolving door of third defenders back then in those early seasons, with Van Der Meer and myself usually paired up with whoever was flavour of the day or brought in as a patchwork player or project for that season. We went through a lot of fullbacks – Berger, Borgebäck, Hoenkens, Mutsaers, Oesterweld, probably some more that I can’t remember now… – in our first three seasons until Marko Zilic and Leon Hooiber – who’s now our captain – were brought on board and things solidified somewhat.”
“Back then in those days Van Der Meer gained all the attention for his aggressive and terrorising play while I just played my simple game and soldiered on. Things looked a little dicey for me when talented Knut Borgebäck was brought on board, but then management had a change of plan and somehow he ended up getting the cut while I didn’t. To this day I’m still not sure why – but here I am still” laughed the man they call Radar.
‘Radar’ Boekweg got his nickname from Thurston Alderton back in Liga Mundo Season 4, “After” – explained Alderton, “he kept flying under the radar of attention when club management was moving guys in and out of our defence. I quipped to the press once how Joep always flew under the radar – be it from opposing teams during games or our club management when the transfer deadline rolled around.”
When Radar is brought up with Bartnel Botha, the Springboks manager and Liga Mundo commissioner quips, “Boekweg’s position is a fixture with this club – but we’re all glad that he continues to stay off the other team’s radar. Joep has been a constant steadying factor on our team and when he isn’t on the pitch, his missing presence is sorely felt.”
“I will tell you what has been Radar’s staying factor,” explained midfielder Stien van Buyten, “Radar may be a fullback but he has always contributed here and there with the scoring plays. If you look at the team stats, he has always been the leading fullback with the most points – except I think one season Van Der Meer led in that department. Anyways, your fullbacks aren’t expected to provide offense but whenever you do get that production from them, it’s just the extra bonus icing on the cake.”
“Radar has provided the Springboks with a lot of icing over the seasons...”
OCTOBER 19, 2010 - Former captain’s son joins Die Bokke
The son of former fan favourite and captain Gert Grünholz was signed today by Transvaal Springboks in the second-highest transfer fee ever paid out for a player. Paul Grünholz was lured to the Springboks at the conclusion of a frenzied bidding war with the offer of a R$4.6 million rand contract. Seven unspecified German-based professional clubs had been in the hunt for the dual-national German-South African fullback but the 18-year-old fullback ended up choosing to sign with his father’s old club.
“Liga Mundo and the Springboks have a lot of history – and interwoven in that history is my father. His career in Liga Mundo only spanned five seasons and came in the twilight of his playing career; growing up watching those early Liga Mundo matches did subsequently evoke strong memories when the offer sheet came in from Manager Bartnel Botha,” commented Paul Grünholz a few hours after the signing was announced by the club.
Forward Jakob Kruger has relinquished his #9 jersey to the younger Grünholz so that he can wear the same number which his famous father once wore. Paul’s father Gert was the first captain of the Springboks and held that title for the club’s first three seasons in Liga Mundo before Leon Hooiber, the current captain, replaced him in Liga Mundo Season 4. Not a major goal-scorer, the elder Grünholz’s claim to fame in Liga Mundo was primarally as a hardnosed forward who terrified opposing defenders with his gritty play. Like his father, young Paul is noted for his cool composure under pressure but displays none of the recklessness and chippiness which made the elder Grünholz so hated by opposing sides.
OCTOBER 29, 2010 - Van Deinsen retires from pro soccer
Original Springbok Ricardo van Deinsen announced his retirement from professional soccer this past weekend. He played his final Nordreich Liga match for NVK Kaapstad Hornets on October 17, a 5-1 victory over C.S. Napoli in which Van Deinsen his 25th and final goal as a Hornet, a deft header just seconds before the half-time whistle.
Ricardo began his playing career with Transvaal Springboks of Liga Mundo in that league’s very first season as one of the club’s original signings. Wearing jersey #10, he played for five seasons and led the Springboks to their first Liga Mundo championship and became one of the club’s most prolific forwards and led the Springboks in scoring in Liga Mundo Season 3 and was routinely in the top five for team scoring most other seasons. He was named Forward of the Season by club management in Liga Mundo Season 5.
Soon after winning the Primera title, at the age of 30, he announced his retirement. At the time of his final match for Transvaal on June 8, 2009, he was second on the club in most matches played (84) and led the club in most career points (45) and most career goals (34).
Van Deinsen is also to date still the only Springbok player to have played in all four positions on the field - including two victories in net as an emergency substitute goalkeeper in which he never conceded a goal.
Three months later, he would then come out of retirement when Bartnel Botha coaxed him to sign with the brand new NVK Kaapstad Hornets of the Nordreich Liga. During the course of four seasons with the Hornets, he increased his professional goal-scoring total to 59 and played a combined total of 128 matches in X11 soccer. His best seasons in Nordreich Liga were his first two campaigns as injuries began to take their toll on the veteran great by the time Nordreich Liga Season IV rolled around. Despite battling chronic injuries in Nordreich Liga Season III, he lead the club in scoring.
CAREER PLAYING RECORD
- Transvaal Springboks (Liga Mundo): 84 GP, 34 G, 11 A, 45 PTS, 9 X11
- NVK Kaapstad Hornets (Nordreich Liga): 44 GP, 25 G, 8 A, 33 PTS, 10 X11
NOVEMBER 8, 2010 - Legendary Alderton officially a Legend!
Thurston Alderton, goalkeeper and arguably the greatest player ever to pull on the bottle green and gold for Transvaal Springboks, played in his 100th match last week against Atlético Melloria.
“I actually thought it would happen later than it did” confessed the typically reserved and shy backstopper. “With our current schedule, I thought my legendary match would not come until later in the season when we face the rematches with the Big Three. However management has been starting me in some matches originally pencilled in for Théron. But it in recent weeks it was starting to get a little nerve-wracking as we have three players – Brennan, Balthazar, and myself – all on the cusp of playing their 100th matches but all of us also dealing with various delays to reach that ultimate bar. Originally Théron was to start against Melloria but then two hours or so before game-time, Manager Botha decided to change up plans and gave me the nod to go in.”
While many pundits and fans of Die Bokke will admit that Detlef Botha – out of the current line-up – will most likely evolve into the greatest Springbok ever, the majority of fans and observers will un-hesitantly point towards the affable Alderton for the holder of that accolade in the here and now of the present day. They did not need the accomplishment of playing 100 matches to fortify that honour.
Thurston Alderton joined the Springboks at the tail end of Liga Mundo Season 2 when club management began its first overall of the original roster from the previous inaugural Liga Mundo season. He was one of four major signings – along with Brennan, Hooiber, and Rieger – which laid the basis for the present day veteran squad. Needing to fortify the net and replace an injury-prone and unspectacular Thanos Sietaridis, Manager Bartnel Botha went with the strategy to acquire a goalkeeper as good if not better than any keeper in Liga Mundo at the time.
While Alderton has seen his performance drop somewhat in the last two seasons, he was consistently in the number one or two spot as the most reliable keeper in the league for a four-season stretch during which the Springboks surprised everyone with their spotless championship title in Liga Mundo Season 5 when they held the 1st place spot in Primera uninterrupted for the entire season – a feat which probably will never be repeated.
“The fact is, Thurston carried us all on his back to the championship back in Liga Mundo Season 5... plain and simple! No other player has done that for us,” said captain Leon Hooiber.
NOVEMBER 18, 2010 - Springboks gaffer rejects Ngwane offer
Springboks manager Bartnel Botha rejected three transfer offers “from one of the Big Three teams” for fullback Cetshwayo Ngwane.
“It was a very generous, insanely generous offer but Cetshwayo is whom we are building our next generation of fullbacks around,” commented Botha. “He is not for sale.”
Cetshwayo Ngwane, the 18-year-old younger brother of the former Springbok, now all-star fullback Dingiswayo Ngwane of NVK Kaapstad Hornets in the Nordreich Liga, is already in his third season of Primera Liga play. While still regarded as one of the Baby Boks, Ngwane’s arrival at Loftus Versfeld in Liga Mundo Season 7 sent shockwaves throughout Die Bokke’s defensive corps – ultimately resulting in the departure of an under-developing Cuthbert McGorry and UCFA veteran Nathan Archibald last month to potentially open up more playing time for the young Zulu player.
DECEMBER 2, 2010 - Boks season runs out of gas... again
A 3-2 loss to Arcadia FC combined with suspensions to Detlef Botha and injuries to Emmanuel Hörtnagl (out four weeks) and Charles Brennan (tentative for next match) have demolished any hopes Transvaal Springboks might have had for winning the Liga Mundo title in Liga Mundo Season 9.
However, most pundits would suggest that the Springboks took themselves out of the running in October when Nathan Archibald was let go. The normally-tight Springbok defensive line has been in a real state of flux this season, first with the transfer of underachieving Cuthbert McGorry and then followed by the outright release of Archibald. Both departures stemmed from a crisis which has developed this season – allocating enough playing time for prospects versus veterans.
Transvaal has typically used its cup run as the training ground for its younger players and second-liners – but the sudden and abrupt elimination from the Copa Cato in the first round meant that regular season games would now need to be sacrificed for development.
This unsettling on the ’Boks’ defensive line has acquired the name, the ‘Ngwame Factor’. Ever since the arrival of Cetshwayo Ngwame at Loftus Versfeld three seasons ago, club management has been focused on developing the young Zulu as their defensive saviour once Joep Boekweg and Leon Hooiber depart. This has, in turn, had a cascading effect on the development of the Springbok second line – notably Olav Froggnarson and the now-departed McGorry.
Last season’s progress report for the fullbacks did not make management expectations – and McGorry was the first to be cast adrift. Nathan Archibald’s departure was linked to youngsters Paul Grünholz and Bismarck Steyn unexpectedly appearing on the scouting radar.
As Manager Bartnel Botha explained, “we weren’t actively looking for any more players for our defence – but when the scouting reports for Grünholz Jnr and Steyn landed on my desk, I had some difficult decisions to make as both of these players would form a nice backbone to develop. I’ll be honest, if Steyn had arrived first – then I am almost sure that Grünholz would never have been signed by us. However we had just acquired Grünholz when we got word of Steyn graduating from our junior squad. We have never had a great selection of earth-shattering prospects come our way – Cetshwayo and Detlef the obvious exceptions – so we had to gamble on Steyn as being the best defensive prospect we’d see come along in the next few seasons.”
“At that point, we were in immediate re-building mode as games (and wins) would need to be sacrificed for all these youngsters arriving so late in the season. But losing Hörtnagl – one of our ‘go-to’ players on our midfield – to a major injury and Detlef to a suspension in a critical must-win match, if we were to challenge for the title, well that pretty much knocked the wind out of our sails for this season. Unfortunately we are once again, a ‘...next season’ squad.”
Season 10 PrimeraEdit
DECEMBER 19, 2010 - Liga Mundo Season 9 club awards
At the club awards dinner held on Saturday night, the Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and club executive of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 9 player accomplishments:
- Player of the Season: midfielder Detlef Botha
- Fullback of the Season: Leon Hooiber
- Midfielder of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Forward of the Season: Balthazar Botha
- Most Improved Player: Milan Bosch
- Prospect / Rookie of the Season: Bismarck Steyn
Detlef Botha was the only Transvaal Springbok player to earn any X11 merit awards: 2nd most points (13 points); 2nd leading scorer (11 goals); 3rd Most sending offs (1 red card); 2nd Most bookings (4 yellow cards).
DECEMBER 22, 2010 - More changes in ’Boks backfield
It appears that Olav Froggnarson’s two year stint with Transvaal Springboks is nearing an end. Manager Bartnel Botha confirmed that the club had received an asking offer for the 25-year-old Norwegian fullback.
‘Froggie’ spent 6 seasons with the Springboks playing in the shadows as a project player along with the now-departed Cuthbert McGorry. The two young defenders were brought onboard in Season 4 to be groomed as eventual replacements for Joep Boekweg and Leon Hooiber – however the sudden arrival of Cetshwayo Ngwane three seasons ago brought new challenges to Froggnarson and McGorry’s efforts to secure a starting place on the roster. With Cetshwayo now lining up for one of the three starting spots on the defensive line, Froggnarson found himself the odd man out heading into Season 10. And with the imminent graduation of yet another fullback prospect, club management decided to move the Norwegian.
“Olav can become a decent player if given the playing time and that’s something that had always been lacking for him with the Springboks” explained Botha. “We tried to open things up by offloading Nathan Archibald last season but we were also expecting Olav to increase in skill – something he hasn’t done in the off-season. Now with Cetshwayo challenging for the third fullback spot, we have decided that now is the time to give Cetshwayo that opportunity – especially since he garnered the interest of ALDM last season. If they are showing interest in a player, then you know he's ready for the big game.”
Stepping in as Froggnarson’s replacement will be 18-year-old junior prospect Kurt Neufeld. “Neufeld has a lot of potential and will become a great addition to our defense. He’s basically Leon Hooiber, Stien van Buyten, and Mark Verwayen all wrapped into one defensive player. He has future captain – in five seasons’ time – written all over him.”
JANUARY 6, 2011 - Springboks to go retro on January 20
Transvaal Springboks announced today that they would wear their original Season 1 uniforms in their January 20 match against VolNation Volunteers to celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of Liga Mundo. Founded on January 12, 2008 by PremierApex of Costa Libertad, the league played its first-ever matches just 8 days later.
FEBRUARY 17, 2011 - Detlef Botha... The Legend for real
Just figure Detlef Botha to ruin his own party...
The hardnosed freekicker picked up another suspension today against Atlético Melloria to add to his large collection – and in the process forced club management to postpone celebrations of his impending 100th match until March 3 when the man already considered a legend by the Boks faithful finally achieves official legendary status in Liga Mundo.
In honour of that upcoming achievement, Transvaler Daaglikse Sportnuus now looks back at the more controversial incidents and comments of his playing career:
EXCERPT FROM SPRINGBOKS YEARBOOK: Detlef Botha - midfielder; wears #17. The flamboyant younger brother of Balthazar Botha, he joined the club as a junior prospect in the later half of Season 4. He is most noted for his fearsome freekicking ability and physical toughness on the pitch. Considered by many to be the greatest Springbok player, Detlef has since September 27, 2010 has been the club's leading career pointman. He made an immediate impact on the scoring charts in his second season but it wasn't until Season 8 when his dominance in his position became solidified with 1st or 2nd place finishes in the scoring charts as well as his first all-star section and then repeated these achievements the following season.
TRANSVALER DAAGLIKSE SPORTNUUS - January 13, 2009 The Transvaal Springboks announced this evening that Detlef Botha, younger brother of forward Balthazar Botha, has been promoted to the senior team from the juniors. The two brothers last played together over four years ago when Balthazar was still on the junior squad and Detlef was a 15-year old trial prospect brought up to the Juniors from the Minor programme. Nineteen year-old Detlef Botha joins the Springboks midfield corps and will jump into the role of spot kicker – an area of talent Die Bokke have been lacking in for a couple of seasons. Manager Bartnel Botha – no relation to the two brothers – had this to say about the latest signing: “Detlef has already been written in for a start this Friday against the Gumbo Gods and I am looking forward to seeing what he brings to our team. He has been a tough, fundamental player for the junior side and his addition comes at a perfect time for us as I am in the midst of retooling our midfield.”
“Detlef Botha is a definite keeper. I can see him over time evolving into another Dick Witchge once Dick is retired.” - understatment by Manager Bartnel Botha, February 2009
“With God as my witness, I hate them…” – Detlef Botha, prior to 2 point match against Arcadia FC which galvanised championship run in Season 5, March 2009
“If we lose to the Rokkies (i.e. dresses) then I will wear a skirt for the remainder of our matches this season. This is it boys! We are here to win and everything will be on the line next Monday! I so want to win this baby and see the Big Three’s shattered faces when we take the Liga Mundo championship on June 8.” – Detelf Botha’s infamous Bokkies vs Rokkies interview, in reference to Coach Courtney of Arcadia FC, May 2009
“I’ll guess that means I have to wait for Robertson next time around.” – commenting on suspension prior to VolNation match, Season 6 – August 2009
“Freak stuff like that happens all the time. I’m a big boy and VolNation are too classy an organization to go on a headhunting spree. I was going hard in on goal and twisted my ankle on a grass chip taken out of the field. The guy tackling on me – I think it was Red Moreno, don’t recall for sure – was playing it all positional, clean and good. No hard feelings.” – discounting he was a VolNation target for retaliatory injuries, Season 6 – September 2009
TRANSVALER DAAGLIKSE SPORTNUUS – November 2009 After the final whistle, tough guy Detlef Botha had to be restrained by stewards after he chirped his displeasure over the biased refereeing, threatening to go headhunting in their next meeting. “Keep your head up next time, Chuckles…” he was overheard taunting an unidentified Swamplandia player. “We can't do anything about their cyclopsian referees, but if that circus outfit wants to bring in a bunch of clowns to referee, then don't be surprised if a gong show breaks out next time around” said the obviously agitated midfielder.
“That guy may act like a clown at times, but it’s all show to throw off his opponents. That kid is hard as nails on the field, but also backs up his toughness by walking the walk and popping the goals in. I see him in his twilight years being one of the greatest players this country has produced and probably leading all club records.” – the legendary Dick Witchge on Detlef Botha, December 2009
“This is a team which has faced a lot of obstacles over the years, started down relegation, and always been downplayed by other clubs. You know, it might have been a loss for us today – but it is just one loss, and I think our league has gained so much today from this one win by Swamplandia. This is a good day for the league.” – Detlef Botha on Swamplandia Sinners winning their first championship.
“Holten is one of the hardest keepers around to read reactions, sometimes with him it just boils down to luck” – Detlef Botha on Claus Holten of 1984 Duckies FC
MARCH 20, 2011 - Arlindo Kaká interviewed by ALDM press
Prior to this week’s match-up between the Transvaal Springboks and Atlético Luz Del Mar, ALDM fan magazine El Mundo Deportivo met-up with 21-year-old Costa Libertad graduate Arlindo Kaká who plays for the Springboks:
1. You are having a great season this year, what have you done differently on and off the pitch, in-season and in the off-season, that has made you better player?
It is probably due to a better quality of playing time. In previous seasons, I’ve generally had to work around being the second substitute on our midfield. This year, due to a combination of injuries and suspensions, I have seen a lot more starts and have been trying to make the most of those opportunities. With injuries to Mark (Verwayen) and Emms (Emmanuel Hörtnagl), that has propelled me into more important starts and matches. And with that comes confidence to perform better.
2. You are one of the four transferred players from ALDM, how do you think your career so far stacks up against the post-ALDM careers of lets say Sergio Cambiasso(Vols) or the retired Rodrigo Abreu?
At this point, no one can compare me with either of them. Abreu is one of the all-time greats out of Costa Libertad - I would be fortunate if my career can ever match his – while Cambiasso is now just entering his prime as a bonafide starter and star. Me on the other hand, however, I am probably at least two seasons away from gaining a full-time starting position. Anyone who follows the Springboks knows that we have a lot of veteran depth in our midfield that is now coming to bloom. My career hasn’t hit full-stride yet. I think the difference for me will be, while Abreu and Cambiasso are limelight players, I’ll always be playing in the shadows or this player or that player and will probably play out that way until late in my career.
3. How did it feel to score against ALDM?
[Laughs] I’d be lying to admit that I felt nothing at all. However, truth is I figured it was bound to happen as Manager Botha has generally given me starts against Los Ninos for the psychological aspect.
4. How does it feel to be on a team that is in position to win a title, with the possibility of making you a champion?
It may surprise you to hear this – but no one on the Springboks is talking championship. It’s a taboo subject between us all. All eyes may be on us but we still have a lot of work to do and we haven’t reached our peak as a team unit yet. We’re taking it one game at a time and see what happens. Nothing is guaranteed in the Primera anymore. Teams that start counting their eggs often end up being disappointed when they don’t hatch.
5. Do you see yourself starting for the 'Boks on a consistent basis? What have you learned and who has/if anyone brought you under their wing?
Management has told me that I am on the cusp of becoming a starter – like I said earlier, probably two seasons down the road is what Manager Botha is anticipating – but when that happens really all depends now on when guys like Rieger and Schot hang up their cleats. I’ve been told I’m being groomed as one of their eventual replacements – in essence what you’d see is a midfield line-up of Stien (Van Buyten), Mark, Emms, Detlef, and myself. As for players who’ve taken me under their wing, first and foremost that’d be Detlef. The guy is a phenomenal freekicker – and while I don’t think I’ll ever be able to match his precision, he has helped me immensely in training as well as preparation for those game days where I back him up and do take over the spot kicks. On the road, we room together so I get to observe and learn a lot from him about what it takes to be a professional ball player in Liga Mundo. Along with Jakob Kruger, the three of us work out together once a week just on our freekicks and just bond as a special team unit.
6. Would you ever suit up as a Nino again?
No, I believe league transfer rules prevent players from re-joining their original or previous clubs. Besides, Fate has dictated that this is where I call home in the football world. And I also like the fact that we players don’t face the same intense pressure from our fans like Los Ninos do. It means I can concentrate more on what is going on the pitch and less in the newspapers or radio.
Season 11 PrimeraEdit
APRIL 14, 2011 - Die Bokke and ALDM make transfer deal
Transvaal Springboks and Atlético Luz Del Mar completed their second intra-liga transfer deal when Manager Bartnel Botha acquired 18-year-old midfielder Lourenço Figueroa from Los Niños in a $2,200,000 deal. The previous evening, the promising but little-used fullback prospect Kurt Neufeld was released to make way for the second Springbok addition from Costa Libertad.
As Manager Botha explained: "At the time when we heard Figueroa was on the market, we had been thinking on the backburner about a potential midfielder prospect acquisition on account of the recent announcement that Matthias Rieger would be hanging up his cleats at the end of Season 11."
"After some initial hestation, we realised that with six fullbacks on our roster and four of them aged 20 or younger, it was going to be immensely difficult to find playing time for three of them (Steyn, Grünholz, and Neufeld). We wanted to try and keep Neufeld as he had a great skill-set but we really needed him to have improved twice as much as he did in the off-season - and we were not in a position yet to contemplate an early retirement for Rieger. So, Neufeld got the cut."
"We have had great success with Arlindo Kaká - our previous signing from Costa Libertad - so we felt that Figueroa would be a good fit on our midfield. He brings some great ability in areas we haven't typically enjoyed, such as a player decent on the crease."
When asked how and where he saw Figueroa fitting in, Manager Botha said that he saw him evolving into another Emmanuel Hörtnagl. "The fact that Figueroa is adept at pretty much any outfield position, he brings the same versitility of possibilities that we get from Emms Hörtnagl - who can step in on an instant as a go-to substitute, a midfield quarterback, or an alternate scoring threat up front if Brennan and Balthazar are unavailable."
APRIL 14, 2011 - Figueroa Joins Die Bokke
EL MUNDO DEPORTIVO [COSTA LIBERTAD]: Lourenço Figueroa, a midfielding youth sensation who has now landed with his third team. Figueroa, a Real Castilla Leon youth product and now former Ninos looks forward to his stay at his new club. The midfielder showed brilliances with braces from outside the box in cup and friendly games. Figueroa even record an above average leauge game against Arcadia FC where the youngster earned his Primiership card.
An off season set back with run ins with the law with an incident involving a scuffle at a Canary District night club landed him a club-inflicted ban from training. Following the suspension, Figueroa suffered an ACL tear in private training sessions.
Despite the set-backs, the youngster looks to continue his career in the professional ranks as well as on the COS U-20 members. Figueroa joins fellow COS national Arlindo Kaka who has become a fixture off of the bench for the Transvaal Springboks.
It is rumored that top managment and GM Cato Calderon are looking into signing Rolandiñho Boa Monréal, a youth standout from the defunt Deportivo Santa Fe. Rolandinho recently was on trial with Real Castilla Leon but was not interested due to lack of playing time offered. The player is compared to Tiago Andre with a larger upside.
APRIL 15, 2011 - Charles Brennan takes early retirement
After meeting with club executive this afternoon, Charles Brennan has opted for early retirement after 8 seasons with the Transvaal Springboks. The veteran forward has struggled since Season 7 and seen his once-feared dominance on the Primera scoreboard vanish as of late – although last season witnessed a sudden and brief renaissance of his earlier days when Balthazar Botha was battling injuries and picked up an impressive hat-trick against Swamplandia Sinners during a Copa Cato III first-round match.
The unexpected move seems to signal a rebuilding shift at Loftus Versfeld as Milan Bosch and Jakob Kruger will now finally jockey for starting position alongside Balthazar Botha, who himself had begun to eclipse Brennan until an untimely injury interfered last season.
Two seasons ago saw new youth talent brought onboard the defense and only yesterday the midfield saw itself strengthened with the acquisition of promising ALDM product Lourenço Figueroa. However the forward line had remained intact for Die Bokke since Jakob Kruger joined over three seasons ago. Stepping in to fill the replacement gap is 17-year-old junior graduate Kanyovu Chelba. Described by coaches as an unflashy player and unremarkable on the pitch, he is nevertheless quite talented for his tender age and is expected to evolve into another Brennan over time.
With Matthias Rieger making his retirement intentions publicly known, many pundits expected that he would be the next veteran to get the cut – and not Brennan who still had three years on his midfield team-mate – so the move comes as a shock to many observers. But management responded by saying that “Chelba clearly fits into our quiet policy of recruiting player who can achieve 10 by 25 (10-bars by age 25) which we have been utilizing the last three seasons. With Rieger, we still need him more on our midfield than we depended on Brennan for our attack. ”
MAY 19, 2011 - Matthias Rieger to hang up his cleats
Legendary midfielder Matthias Rieger has decided to hang up his cleats after today’s match at Loftus Versfeld against visiting Atlético Melloria.
The 35-year-old stalwart of the Springboks midfield for 9 seasons announced his intention to retire at the end of this season and had seen his playing time reduced to mostly substitution duty.
Rieger joined the Transvaal Springboks in the latter half of Season 3 in August 2009 and led the Primera Liga for most assists (7) the following season. His most productive campaigns have been Season 4 and Season 5 and saw himself named to the Primera All-star team in both those seasons. He reached legendary status on September 30, 2010 and is currently fourth on all-time career games played, fourth in points, fifth in goals, and second in assists for the Springboks. He currently leads the club in career X11 selections with 58.
It is expected the early retirement will result in a replacement signing in the next few days.
MAY 24, 2011 - Tyehimba has big shoes to fill
Two days after he was signed by Transvaal Springboks, fans of Die Bokke got their first glimpse of midfielder newcomer Tyehimba Essien during an optional training session this afternoon at Loftus Versfeld.
The 18-year-old youngster was spotted by chance playing for a semi-pro team in the Soweto townships. Management were impressed by further reports and he was quickly signed to a contract by Manager Bartnel Botha – who had this to say about his newest signing:
“First off, let me get this straight… Tyehimba is not a replacement for the recently departed Matthias Rieger. We are not expecting immediate A-level results from him, but we really like his future potential with his impressive heading and speed. His talent level was a little below our standard requirements for someone his age, but he more than makes up for it with what he could bring to us down the road. As we bring in new players, we are looking for more depth and diversity in terms of skillset – and Tyehimba best exemplifies this.”
JULY 8, 2011 - Die Bokke headhunting Badgers
Blood has been spilt in the latest Nordreich derby match-up in Liga Mundo as Nordheim Badgers youth midfielder Flynn Fadyen chopped down Springboks veteran playmaker Stien van Buyten just three minutes into their recent meeting.
Van Buyten is expected to be gone now for almost four weeks and his absence will no doubt create holes in the midfield for upcoming critical matches against Original Four sides Arcadia FC and VolNation.
Although keeping their identities anonymous, a couple of the Springbok veterans lashed out and promised revenge for the victious injury.
"Unfortunately we don't play the Badgers anymore this season but we'll be headhunting in our next match-up in retaliation for Stien's injury. McFadyen is a nobody, just a pip-squeak... so we'll be out looking for bigger fish to fry... most likely Kalle Pontare... we've got his number and that should hurt them back," said an unidentified and obviously aggitated Transvaler player.
Typically, Nordreich derby matches involving the Transvaal Springboks - the elder side in Liga Mundo from Nordreich - are rather quiet and uneventful affairs, with most of the bloodbath occuring in the nasty Nordenstrom vs. Dorpat rivialries which have split over from the Nordreich Liga into Liga Mundo.
But now it appears that the management of Nordheim Badgers have decided to provoke the sleeping Transvaal giant. Only time will tell whether it was a smart tactic or not on Nordenstrom's part.
JULY 21, 2011 - The Greatest Springbok ever sold
Transvaal Springboks announced this evening that the club would be accepting a transfer offer from Atlético Luz Del Mar in exchange for 35-year-old legendary goalkeeper Thurston Alderton.
“The transfer papers will be signed just after midnight,” stated Manager Bartnel Botha.
Alderton joined the Springboks at the tail end of Season 2 when club management began its first overhall of the original roster from the previous inaugural Liga Mundo season. He was one of four major signings – along with Brennan, Hooiber, and Rieger – which laid the basis for the present day veteran squad. Needing to fortify the net and replace an injury-prone and unspectacular Thanos Sietaridis, Manager Bartnel Botha went with the strategy to acquire a goalkeeper as good if not better than any keeper in Liga Mundo at the time.
While Alderton has seen his performance and playing time drop somewhat in the last three seasons, he was consistently in the number one or two spot as the most reliable keeper in the league for a four-season stretch during which the Springboks surprised everyone with their spotless championship title in Season 5 when they held the 1st place spot in the Primera Liga uninterrupted for the entire season – a feat which probably will never be repeated.
“The fact is, Thurston carried us all on his back to the championship back in Season 5... plain and simple! No other player has done that for us,” said captain Leon Hooiber last season when Alderton starred in his legendary 100th match.
When Alderton was reached at his Durban home for comment by the Johannesburg Free Press after the announcement, the man who is arguably the greatest Springbok player of the club’s first 10 seasons quietly replied, “I’m going to a club that seriously needs my services, and Manager Botha was conscience of the fact that the transfer will now give me something that the Springboks haven’t been able to give – a chance to play in a league cup final and win the Copa Cato. I can’t really help the ‘Boks anymore, it’s now François’ turn to bring heroics to the club. But I can help Los Niños in a big way – in fact, my debut for them will be my most toughest assignment since our win that clinched our league title in Season 5. I'm really excited... and who wouldn't when you have Lois Luis parked out in front of you?”
The departure now propels an unexpected François Théron into the limelight as the starting keeper for Die Bokke. While he will become the most-outclassed starter in the Primera Liga, Théron has been displaying a strong game for the past month and it was that performance which made management believe that now was the time to move him into the starting position.
“Ja, natuurlik I’m nervous, but this is the day that I have been working towards for the past six seasons. I was expecting one more season as the back-up but if I can maintain my high playing form for the remainder of this season, then it will only strengthen me heading into next season.”
SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 - Awards night at Loftus Versfeld
At the club awards dinner held tonight, the Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and club executive of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 11 player accomplishments:
- Player of the Season: Balthazar Botha
- Fullback of the Season: Joep Boekweg
- Midfielder of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Forward of the Season: Balthazar Botha
- Most Improved Player: Jakob Kruger
- Rookie of the Season: Christopher de Beers
- Prospect of the Season: Lourenço Figueroa
Detlef Botha and Joep Boekweg were the only Transvaal Springbok players to earn any X11 merit awards:
- Joep Boekweg - 3rd most bookings (5 yellow cards)
- Detlef Botha - 1st most sending offs (3 red cards); 1st most bookings (5 yellow cards)
Season 12 PrimeraEdit
SEPTEMBER 2, 2011 - Die Bokke make changes up front
Kanyovu Chelba was sold a couple of days ago on an intra-league transfer after he found himself the odd man out on the Springboks offensive line at the conclusion of the season. “We were expecting Chelba to have a much, much better progress report if we were going to retain his services,” commented Manager Bartnel Botha.
However while his days with the Transvaal Springboks were soon over, two Liga Mundo clubs took an interest in the 18-year-old foward after he was placed on open waivers. Templar Forsworn showed some possible curiousity in the player, but then Syracuse Salty Dogs made an offer more than double what Manager Botha was asking which quickly sealed the deal.
In Chelba’s place, 20-year-old Baart Jantjies (pronounced ‘Yunkeess’) was promoted from the junior academy. Springboks management told Johannesburg Free Press that “we will give some trial attention to Jantjies but his roster spot this season will really all depend on whether our youth academy has any graduating prospects of a higher quality. Admittedly his age is a little more advanced in what we were looking for, however our attack is noticeably devoid of any decent sharpshooters – so we decided to give him a shot and see what happens during the coming season and whether he can hold his own.”
OCTOBER 7, 2011 - VolNation Gets Jump On Springboks
VOLNATION PRESS: A big key to how the VolNation Mighty Volunteers season goes is how they do facing the Transvaal Springboks at Loftus Versfeld. It has been three seasons since the Mighty Vols last picked up a victory there, and yet a win was critical to the Mighty Vols this season, as there is a great pack of clubs crowding about the top of the table.
Added to that has been the pressure of expectation by the press and the fans. Given the two clubs history of scoring in bunches, the last two meetings at Loftus Versfeld have been, well, boring with a 1-0 Vol loss and a 1-1 draw to the credit of the teams. While defense has been a major factor of those scores, the buzz in the press has been wondering of the teams have forgotten how to score, or whether there is a black hole or a Bermuda Triangle of sorts that have sucked up all the goals and caused them to disappear..
Both clubs, unhindered by any injuries, looked like they were coming out to run up the score, as both deployed offensive 3-5-2's. Right out of the gate, shots went flying at the goals. First, striker Pedro Townsend uncorked a diving header in the 4th minute, but the gravitational pull of the crossbar caused that shot to disappear. That was followed by another header by VolNation's left attacking midfielder Kayode Giwa, but Transvaal's 28 year old keeper François Théron swallowed up that one. Then the Mighty Vol captain Arthur Basso lined up for a free kick, but the strange gravity appeared to play again and the ball skimmed just wide. This effect affected both clubs, as Transvaal forward Jakob Kruger, on a breakaway, slid a shot right through last season's MVP Christopher Rojas' legs, but the shot was drawn to the right post and bounced harmlessly away.
Right before the half, all this changed. It was Basso, whose free kicks have been known to violate the space-time continuum (or so the Atlético Luz Del Mar papers have speculated given the frequency of Basso goals there), who delivered a free kick blast that blew past Théron on the way to the back of the net, but also seemingly destroyed the quantum singularity at the stadium that prevented goals.
After that, it was like a completely different ball game, one reminiscent of normal VolNation-Transvaal matchup, and it was off to the races for both clubs. Right out of the half, Transvaal made good use of the missing singularity with left winger Mark Verwayen dipping a header right under the crossbar to even up the score. The rough play of the Springboks, thought, resulted in Basso getting another chance moments later, and Basso delivered again to give the lead back to the Mighty Vols. The Springboks were ready to counter, and another breakaway by Kruger this time stayed inside the post and resulted in a 2-2 score.
It was here, though, that the tide began to turn. Both clubs had been playing rough, though Transvaal more obviously so. Nonetheless, the Mighty Vols had been heavily working over Transvaal midfielder Emmanuel Hörtnagl, the 'Boks most prolific point getter this season. As Hörtnagl appeared to be losing steam, the Transvaal coach made a tactical decision to pull Hörtnagl and get Henk Schot in with some fresh legs in the center mid. This move backfired, as confusion between Schot and Detlef Botha led to Giwa getting free for a header right in front of the 'Boks net and flicking the Michael Pitts cross in for a score just 2 minutes later.
The aging VolNation lineup started taking hits due to the bruising Springbok play. First it was Basso who had to depart from a Detlef Botha check. Minutes later, it was the great VolNation forward Ian Robertson who had to depart, with Rudolf Fäste coming in. The talented Transvaal forward Balthazar Botha almost took advantage of the Basso departure, shaking the young Caleb Reichle who replaced Basso, and lobbing in a shot that was just milimeters too high.
The fresh and speedy legs of Fäste proved to be the Springboks undoing, as moments after the Botha miss, Fäste blew into the box. As he penetrated, the Springbok defense, trying to recover, overplayed and Fäste took advantage with a neat drop pass to Townsend, who was rushing the box just behind. Townsend unloaded from very short range and delivered the final blow to make it 4-2.
Afterward, Coach Philip said in the post game press conference, "A win against Transvaal is huge; there is no doubt about it. As this was the first match where our team has practiced together all week, we were not sure how they would all gel. However, we knew that we could be in the match, no matter how well our guys were playing, if we could shut down Hörtnagl and keep Detlef Botha from popping freekicks at our goal. Our guys took those keys to heart and were successful. Botha did not get even one freekick chance and Hörtnagl was kept to very limited options for most of the match, with the exception being that beautiful rainbow pass to Verwayen. This is simply why we won today."
Next week brings another big test for the Mighty Vols as Atlético Luz Del Mar comes to Neyland Stadium. With both clubs right in the thick of it at the top of the table, this will be another fantastic battle.
OCTOBER 18, 2011 - Die Bokke no longer Die Beste
Not even just a few seasons ago would any serious or amateur football pundit in South Africa ever question the dominance of the Transvaal Springboks.
However, a new stark reality is beginning to sink in as many observers are now debating the fall of the Transvaal Springboks on the pitch as Transvaal’s “other teams” begin to win accolade of their own. Once written off as the poor, coloured cousin to the Springboks, Windhoek Welwitschia has now edged out Die Bokke as Transvaal’s most talented and strongest team. Not only the Springboks, but practically any Primera Liga side would salivate if they got their hands on the likes of Bert Schut, Boyke Chan Carl, Manos ‘The Hand of Fate’ Torgo, or Jamie Alcott.
“There is no question that if Springboks and Welwitschia met head-to-head, the Namibian side would dominate and embarrass the Liga Mundo team,” said sports personality Hennie van der Block on a recent segment of the Afrikaans sport television show, “Op Die Doel se Lyn” [On the Goal’s Line]. “The state of Springbok football is anemic since the departures of veterans Alderton, Brennan, and Rieger,” trumpeted an agitated Van der Block.
The truth is the Transvaal Springboks are looking at another mid-table finish while Windhoek Welwitschia are on track for their second Vedder League title and possibly their first cup win to boot.
And while it should be no surprise that Welwitschias are now finally punishing their opponents with their patient ‘slow-build’ around their albeit aging veteran core (13 wins in their last 14 outting) – even in the Nordreich Liga, football fans there are starting to see the end-results of a youth programme that sacrificed early league success for a future nucleus that is now starting to come of age and bring some paydirt with the likes of midfield phenomenon Noukeu Keita and the dangerous fullback troika of Dingiswayo Ngwane (a former Springbok cast-off), skipper Eugene Tchami, and multi-tasker Benin Ndiako – a youthful defensive line-up that could start for most Liga Mundo sides in the Primera.
The main concern of the Kaapstad Hornets is now not so much their opponents’ strength but whether the league itself can stay afloat long enough to see their youth core evolve into solid, dominant veterans? Not only are Windhoek seriously challenging for cup glory, but the Hornets hold a 4-goal edge in the Nordreich Cup finals which continue next Saturday. It is very possible that both Windhoek and Cape Town could hold cup championship parades before Gauteng ever gets to see one... or think about one.
“It seems like we have returned to the days of Season 2 or 3 in Liga Mundo” – Hennie van der Block
So in the span of one or two seasons, the football fan in Southern Africa has seen the once unassalible Transvaal Springboks slide into third position in terms of talent. Granted that neither The Khomasdal nor Greenpoint Stadium will ever outdraw Loftus Versfeld – but one must ask how long will Die Bokke Nasie tolerate the sickly brand off football which has begun to grip their legendary side?
NOVEMBER 20, 2011 - Bit of a Botha Thriller at Loftus Versfeld
The meeting of the Forsworn and 'Boks at Loftus Versfeld brought about a 3-2 thriller.
The first half was opened by a harsh penalty decision when returning player Pablo Hiestban was adjudged to have assisted Detlef Botha to the ground in the box. Botha then converted the subsequent penalty. Replays showed there was no contact between the two players.
The other key factor in the first half was the defensive injuries to both teams in a boisterous first half. Spheeris tweaked a hamstring and came off to be replaced by younster Rose. Whereas the Boks lost Ngwane through a slippery surface but were able to reinforce their back line to a better standard than the Forsworn.
The second half was opened by a dominant display by the Forsworn after a rousing team talk at half time by Manager Cyphon88. Rose crossed from deep to meet the diving header of Wakil who put the ball beyond the reaching hands of Caetano to draw the Forsworn even.
The Forsworn then tried to put their stamp on the midfield to control the game. This put a great deal of pressure on the Boks, and also cost the Forsworn two yellow cards. However this provided it's own dividends as the pressure forced Boks Forward Kruger to concede an own goal while defending the Boks third successive corner.
This galanvanised the home crowd to urge their Boks onwards. Van Buyten was able to slip an outrageous curling through ball beyond the weakened and disorganised Forsworn defence which Balthazar Botha duly converted with a chip over young keeper Raf Pisano.
The Boks tired and brought on reinforcements as time went on, but the game was decided in a convergence in the 91st minute.
Matty Doolan, who had been sparring with Detlef Botha the entire game, snapped in a moment of madness and pushed the Bok Midfielder on the edge of the box. After the ensuing fracas, Botha composed himself and placed an unstoppable freekick into the top left hand corner of the goal to take all three points for the Boks and secure their relegation fears.
"Today we were undone by the Bothas. Their team has much greater depth than ours due to good management, and the Botha Brothers were able to make the most of key moments of the game. Bar the sending off I'm not unhappy with the Lad's performance, and I think it's informed my own tactical strategies which we'll now have to eek out to avoid relegation" claimed manager Cyphon88 in his post match conference.
Next the Forsworn entertain Arcadia FC, with both teams needing to win to have a hope of avoiding relegation from the Primera.
DECEMBER 2, 2011 - Manager/Commissioner now also Player
Severely frustrated and fed-up with his team’s recent results and the Springboks struggling to keep the ball out of their own goal, Manager Bartnel Botha signed a player contract this morning and will now play in goal against VolNation Volunteers next week. The move is intended to both send a message and shore up alarming goals-against numbers.
Botha’s previous playing experience was back in the days of the Transvaal National Liga – when he was goalkeeper for AFC Johannesburg.
The addition of a third goalkeeper to Die Bokke’s roster meant that someone had to go – and that someone turned out being the legendary Henk Schot, one of two remaining original Springbok players from when Transvaal joined Liga Mundo.
While the move of Bartnel Botha from the sidelines to the goal-line caught local fans and observers completely off-guard, the departure of Schot did not as it was no secret that the veteran of 174 matches had been in the twilight of his career and relegated to mostly substitute and injury reserve roles for the past three or four seasons.
Never a real producer on the field, the speedy Schot struggled for most of his career to earn the respect of fans and teammates – and as the second generation of midfielders, such as Van Buyten, Detlef Botha, Verwayen, and Hörtnagl came to the fore, Henk Schot found his playing time decrease. His best days were long ago before Transvaal Springboks won their first (and to date, only) Liga Mundo championship. His best campaign was probably his first, when he finished 4th in team scoring for the ’Boks in Liga Mundo 1.
While Manager Botha now steps into the starting keeper role, he did state that “…François Théron’s place with the team is not under review. The fact is we probably rushed Théron a little too early when we did. This is a temporary measure to salvage what is left of the season and avoid a potential drop to the Segunda.”
Season 13 PrimeraEdit
JANUARY 10, 2012 - Another uncertain season lies ahead
PRETORIA-GAUTENG DAILY GLEANER: After the worst season for the Transvaal Springboks since the previous relegation scare in Liga Mundo 2, club management was quick to part ways with struggling reserves Baart Jantjies and Tyehimba Essien – and raising the ire of non-white supporters after their places were taken by two Afrikaners – impressive youth prospect Naas Pienaar and amateur signing Pieter van Uys.
But as Manager Bartnel Botha explained to the Daily Gleaner, there is more to the moves than just some manifestation of the contentious colour-issue which continues to plague South African teams:
“Baart Jantjies started out with a lot of promise but really underperformed all season and fought to maintain form. With our forward line really suffering from lack of playing time overall, we had to let go of someone and that was no question, Baart. We tried to shop him around but there was zero interest. Once Van Uys came on our scouting radar, we knew we needed to open up a spot to sign him; we see him developing into a player of the calibre of Emms Hörtnagl but with all the edge of Detlef Botha. The fact that we could sign him for what we paid, we are very excited to have him on board.”
“It was our intention to retain Tyhimba Essien for at least another season. Despite weak progress, he did compensate with a great skill set. But then our youth coach notified me that Naas Pienaar was being made available, and it came down to what would benefit us more: keeping Essien or picking up a player with probably ten times more the potential? At least if Pienaar doesn’t work out down the road, he is marketable.”
Of course, the glaring problem area on Die Bokke is the goaltending situation.
Forced to step in personally in the later half of last season to try stop the bleeding of goals to their opponents, commissioner-manager-player Bartnel Botha confirmed that he would hang up his cleats at some point this season once he knew where exactly the Springboks were headed in the standings – either up to safety from relegation or down to the Segunda.
The problem in goal is not so much François Théron’s performance; he did admirably as well as could be expected for such a middle-to-low ranked talent in the Primera Liga. But for some reason, the team just seemed unable to perform well in front of him over the long haul last season – where he looked brilliant during his final campaign as a back-up, a performance which ultimately encouraged management to move aging Thurston Alderton to ALDM. Last season, he was unable to re-capture that strength and his teammates in front of him lost confidence and made many a match a nightmare for him.
Where does that leave the Springboks?
No one knows for sure, but many observers close to the club are quietly accepting the fact that the mighty green and gold is playing their last campaign in the Primera. Manager Botha is arguably the best keeper to play for the team (where was he back in Season 2?) but is showing his age at 39 and too old to carry the team for the whole season; Théron needs to regain his confidence; meanwhile Lourenço Caetano, making steady improvement as he has been doing whenever handed playing time, is still three or four seasons away from management even considering the starters job. Caetano is the future of Die Bokke, but in the meanwhile the club and players have to find a way to survive until that future arrives.
JANUARY 18, 2012 - VolNation Prepares For Springboks
After rolling in their opener against Syracuse 4-1, the VolNation Mighty Volunteers now ready themselves against traditional O4 rival Transvaal Springboks. A home win against the 'Boks last season propelled the Mighty Vols to the top and their eventual taking of the title, and it is hoped that another home win can do the same this season. However, Coach Philip warns readers not to underestimate the 'Boks.
"Look, a great rule of thumb is that when you get a club that barely escapes relegation, they look at the new season as one where they have something to prove. If there is any doubt about this, a 2-0 win against Guajolotes should provide ample evidence of this. We are simply going to have to bring the guns to this one, like always, 'cause you know the fireworks will be out in force."
In good news for the Mighty Vols, defender Mark Blankenship has been cleared to play coming off of his injury. Whether Coach Philip will play him against a Transvaal club known for its bruising habits is another issue, as there have been reports that Detlef Botha is looking to take him out. To those reports, Coach Philip dismissed them. "Since when has Detlef looked to take out any one individual? Typically he simply goes for the entire other team. I predict another red card, even though Wanda Rinn doesn't usually pull those."
JANUARY 19, 2012 - Bartnel Botha hangs up his cleats
Springboks manager and Liga Mundo commissioner Bartnel Botha announced his immediate retirement from active play after today’s 4-2 loss at Neyland Stadium to VolNation Volunteers – bring an end to the 39-year-old goalkeeper’s comeback after just four games.
“Being away too long from the game, I am unable to regain anything close to my original playing form,” said Botha during the post-game media conference. “It’s too difficult to manage a team, manage the league, and battle my age to usefully practise with this team.” Botha had announced his impending retirement to occur at some point this season but he was expected to stay on the active playing roster until at least the mid-season point before stepping aside.
All eyes are now once again on 29-year-old François Théron to backstop the team as it looks to avoid another relegation scare. On a positive notice, Théron played one of strongest games in his career as he lead Die Bokke last week to a surprising 2-0 win over Guajolotes at Loftus Versfeld.
FEBRUARY 21, 2012 - Die Bokke riding high on recent success
JOHANNESBURG FREE PRESS – What a difference a season can make!
Last season, Transvaal Springboks were battling all season with goalkeeping woes and a bleeding defensive game to stay afloat in the Liga Mundo Primera Liga and only narrowly avoiding the drop due to realignment.
Now six games into Season 13, riding a five-win record, Die Bokke look like an unexpected juggernaut.
“Winning games is truly the best medicine,” stated Manager Bartnel Botha. “Last season we struggled all season for wins few and far between and it took a battering on our team morale and playing form. This season, we got a few early wins under our belts and now everyone is positive, playing like a million dollars.”
“Last week’s upset in Costa Libertad against ALDM was a huge, unexpected boost for us – and now as we head towards the mid-season point, we are sitting in a very strong position in relation to the two teams challenging immediately below us. We currently have a seven-point lead against Swamplandia, whom we meet in the doubleheader – while Guajolotes is up against high-flying champions VolNation. That plays well for us, because even if we drop the ball against the Sinners, we have a decent chance of still sitting in second place as we head into the second half of the season.”
While there are still some long-term concerns about depth in goal – and the recent Cetshwayo injury has set off alarm bells in the defensive game – for the moment at least, everything seems to be playing out well for the Springboks.
~ Hennie van der Block (JFP), reporting
MARCH 8, 2012 - ALDM demolished 8-0 at Loftus Versfeld
8-0 was how the final scoreline read as the capacity crowd of 52,000 fans departed Loftus Versfeld in a state of bewilderment.
It was the biggest win ever in the history of the Transvaal Springboks – and the biggest result seen since Season 8 when Springboks dealt out 7-0 shellacking of lowly Tercera side Compostella Artois in the second leg of the Second Round of Copa Cato I.
But for most, what was more shocking was not the score but in fact the team on the wrong side of the rout: ALDM.
Atlético Luz Del Mar... oh how the mighty have fallen! Not too long ago, mention of ALDM struck fear in the hearts of Die Bokke Nation. But in recent seasons, the top-heavy talented club from Costa Libertad has suffered an unusual misfortune of events – starving off relegation last season and now finding itself in an even worse state, buried 5 points back in the Primera’s cellar.
The ’Boks dominated throughout in all aspects. Almost 70% possession and François Théron snoozed his way to a cleansheet as the keeper faced no shots in the entire match. In front of him, Boekweg, Hooiber, and a fresh-out-of-the-hospital Cetshwayo put up a wall and held off any and all Niños attempts to snipe at Théron. Meanwhile, the Springboks had a field day with 19 attempts on the ALDM keeper. Jokes could be heard going around in the stands; "Good thing Ol' Thurston wasn't in goal today, otherwise there would be accusations of match-fixing!"
But what was the final icing on the cake for the Springboks – and insult to injury for the visitors – was the determined play of their own Costa Libertad imports, specifically, Arlindo Kaká, who was given a rare opportunity to take a seat in the playmaker’s role. The gamble paid off as Kaká helped led 9 of his teammates on to the scoresheet. While Kaká only saw one assist himself, he had satisfaction in demonstrating to his former club why it was probably a costly mistake to have sold him. Both himself and his compatriot Lourenço Figueroa have grown into integral players with Die Bokke.
“We were deemed expendable, not glamourous enough or big money enough for the glamourous club...” quipped a beeming Figueroa. “...but if you ask me, 8-0 wins are looking like what’s in fashion right now.”
~ Hennie van der Block, reporting for Johannesburg Free Press and the Pretoria-Gautang Daily Gleaner
Season 14 PrimeraEdit
MAY 12, 2012 - Dos Equis advert pokes fun of Boks
In light of Transvaal Springboks’ recent, unexplained loss against lowly Estrella Roja, the Mexican brewery Dos Equis has been broadcasting a new advert poking fun of Die Bokke’s plight in the aftermath.
Once a powerhouse team in the early seasons of Liga Mundo, it’s no secret to anyone that Estrella Roja have fallen on hard times – and last week’s loss by The ’Boks to the Red Stars in the Copa Cato will probably go down as one of the biggest giant-killing acts seen in quite a few seasons – even if Los Cuerpo Rojo don’t make it into the next round.
But the two teams actually share a lot of history together from those early seasons.
While the Big Three were running around roughshod over the rest of the league, and Swamplandia Sinners were still playing football in diapers, it was Estrella Roja – or Die Rooisterre as the Springboks’ Afrikaner fans nicknamed them, the Red Stars – who provided much of the rivalry for the Springboks. And as a result of role-play events in CNRP, Manager Bartnel Botha is also known as a long-time season-ticket holder at Estadio de Sierra Curon.
In later years, with meaningful competition now non-existent against them – the last time Springboks-Roja met in a competitive game was way back in September 2009 during Season 6 – the two old rivals have had to content themselves with friendlies and pick-up scrimmages at Detlef Botha’s farm in the Northern Cape.
While a cup match-up against Estrella Roja may not be cause for major interest in other locales, it has been the buzz of the sports bars in both Southern Africa and the Cataduanes Free State. It has also been an early highpoint of the season for the Springboks elder players:
“Even though it doesn’t get played much these days due to us and them being in different Liga, the Springboks-Estrella Roja match-up is actually one of Liga Mundo’s oldest rivalries, after the famous Rumble in the Jungle – which I suppose has now been shelved since ALDM moved shop,” explained veteran midfielder Stien van Buyten.
“It’d be nice to see them rebuild and reach the Primera Liga again one day – but unfortunately most of us vets will probably be retired by then, and the opposition doesn’t hold the same nostalgia with our younger players. But this recent cup draw against Die Rooisterre has helped rekindle some of that feeling from days of old."
- Hennie van der Block, Johannesburg Free Press reporting
JUNE 12, 2012 - Salty Dogs, Springboks to Get Familiar
SYRACUSE PRESS - Syracuse advanced to the semi-finals of the Copa Cato VII with a 1-0 road win over Guajolotes, giving them a 3-1 aggregate. This is the farthest the Salty Dogs have been in Cup play since they were eliminated in the Copa Del Mar in Season 8. With the elimination of a number of high powered teams (including the Salty Dogs knocking out 2nd seeded Guajolotes), the Dogs are now the second-highest seeded team remaining at #10, after Connecticut Bomer FC at #9, who eliminated #1 VolNation in the quarterfinals. Syracuse will be getting very familiar with their next opponent, the #11 seed Transvaal Springboks, as the two teams will play each other the next four games in a row.
Yes, in an interesting twist of fate, the Salty Dogs face the Springboks right at the turn of the season. So they have a home league match against Transvaal, then an away Cup match, then an away league match, and draw to a close with a home Cup match. Syracuse players spoke on the unique situation.
"That's certainly interesting, I hadn't noticed that," said Franklin Daniels when asked about the scenario. "Obviously not something you see happen very often, nor something you want to see happen. A chess match, to be sure."
Over the next four matches, the referees are Luke Bribe, Michael Steen, Hans Grüber, and Laura Norder. After the recent troubles the team has had with referees, coach Jonathan Cage was tight-lipped about what he expected.
"All I'm concerned about is the health of my team right now. Four matches in a row against Transvaal at this point in our season could end it. I just trust things will be called fairly."
Some of the other players weren't quite as quiet.
"Bribe plays right into Transvaal's hands. They're a dirty, hard-hitting club," said Winston Gordon. "Steen, they may get called for more, but not much may be done about. That man likes his warnings. Grüber could be a help to us, Norder could swing either way."
Needless to say, the team will be motivated to take on the Springboks in all four matches, as the team features two relatives of Commissioner Botha, who put Damon Twiny on a five match suspension. Twiny is out for three more matches. When asked if he would be ready to play Transvaal in their home Cup match, the defender simply smiled.
JUNE 13, 2012 - ’Boks taking the road less travelled
Amongst the faithful supporters of Die Bokke, it is no secret that in the past the club has placed little emphasis on cup tournaments. Second-round and quarter-final round exits with training line-ups being the norm, Transvaal has only reached the semi-finals twice in its history.
Therefore it came as a real shock to fans when the Springboks – without the critical services of veterans ‘Radar’ Boekweg and Detlef Botha – managed to scrape together a 2-2 draw against third-ranked Dynamo Dorpat and move past the quarter-finals in what was regarded by most observers as a decisive upset.
However an even bigger shock would soon to take hold over the fans back home in South Africa, when the three other upset results rolled in through media outlets after the final whistles. Along with the eliminated Estonians, fans and pundits were aghast when news reached them that Die Vrywilligers (VolNation) and Die Kalkoene (Guajolotes) had also been sent packing home.
Suddenly, Transvaal Springboks were confronted with a unique dilemma: maintaining a decent Primera Liga campaign versus the challenge of finally making a serious push for the Copa Cato VII in light of an unusually lighter-than-normal cast in the final-four round.
The downside is the Springboks coffers are fast running dry – a situation which will get worse the longer they remain in the Copa Cato. This in turn will weaken their momentum in the Primera Liga. By being distracted by the sudden lure of the cup, they may lose their step in the prefered pursuit of the regular season championship... and end up losers at the end of the day in both situations.
However, one past cause for alarm – namely, development – won’t rear its head as the reserve roster won’t be looking for playing time during the remainder of the cup run.
“All our reserve players have reached a suitable point in their development that we can now field our strongest line-up for the rest of the cup and most of the regular season,” commented Manager Botha during a break in training today.
The biggest question now on the minds of Die Bokke Nation is who will take the starter reigns in goal: Théron or Caetano?
Both keepers are neck and neck in terms of talent ranking and it is only a matter of time before the younger Caetano secures the permanent starting role - although Caetano has not displayed much confidence in clutch situations. Théron struggles to maintain his irregular and unpredictable playing form but – when least expected – has brilliantly overachieved in the past when thrown into situations with the odds stacked heavily against him.
When asked about the upcoming four-game set with Syracuse Salty Dogs, Manager Botha replied that “...in one sense, I’m viewing our Primera and cup matches as being against completely separate opponents – as teams often perform differently in cup situations compared to the regular season.”
“Our biggest focus will be simply not to take Die Sout-Honde lightly, as they certainly have the means to burn us when we back off and give them the easy chances. But then again, we’ve never faced them with our starting-eleven; they’ve generally faced third-string keepers and youth prospects. This time around we’ll be hammering them for 90+ minutes with our very best players in peak performace.”
“We expect to be worn down by the end of our four matches – but we are anticipating they’ll end up with the much bigger hospital bill.”
JUNE 15, 2012 - ’Boks put Bosch on trading block
Johannesburg Free Press can confidently confirm that Springboks forward Milan Bosch is on the transfer lists after making a request to Manager Bartnel Botha for a move from Loftus Versfeld.
Despite joining the club back in Season 7 and playing 84 matches in Liga Mundo, the speedy Bosch has never had much recognition or team presence towards being an important component of Die Bokke. His best season was probably two seasons ago when he managed to bag 5 goals (and 5 points) in 15 matches, but his production per game has since fallen behind line-mate Jakob Kruger and reserve Christopher de Beers. Three of his eight campaigns saw no goals scored – which is an alarming slump for an attacking player.
“We were anticipating a breakout season for Milan, but he really hasn’t made much from his playing time compared to the rest of our forwards. Perhaps he needs a change of scenery if he is to excel?” quoted an anonymous member of the team’s coaching staff.
JUNE 19, 2012 - Bosch departs; New ’Bok is a Baako
25-year-old forward Milan Bosch was sold yesterday after requesting a transfer earlier in the week. Bosch's departure now raises some alarm bells in the Springboks persuit of the Copa Cato as veteran forward Balthazar Botha was felled earlier in the day in the first-leg of the semi-finals. His untimely injury will keep him out until July - leaving the Springboks attack now in the hands of Jakob Kruger and reserve Christopher de Beers.
In Bosch's place, Manager Bartnel Botha pulled off a signing coup of his own when he inked 17-year-old Dési Baako for $1,149,900.
The Baako name is famous throughout Southern Africa - as his father, Dakarai Baako was one of the greatest Transvaler players in the old UCFA Champions League and later starred with the Kaapstad Hornets in the Nordreich Liga. The elder Baako did play three matches in Liga Mundo with Springboks in Season 5 and got his name engraved on the championship trophy as a member of that championship squad but he never caught on with the club and had departed by the end of season. He would later sign with Kaapstad Hornets and terrorise the midfield in that league for five seasons.
Manager Botha is confident that Dakarai's son Dési can carry on the Baako name with the Springboks and the intelligent and calculating youngster is expected to be tested early against Syracuse while Balthazar Botha is amongst the walking wounded.
JUNE 19, 2012 - Dési sets his sights on goal #14
Coloured and African players wearing the bottle green and gold have been few and far between and have generally struggled to make a lasting, permanent mark with the club – the notable exceptions being star fullback Cetshwayo Ngwane and long-since-retired forward Bushunmo Fuse, the club’s leading goal-scorer during its debut season.
Of the 63 players to have played with the Springboks, only 9 have been non-white South Africans – a surprising percentage of just 14% in a nation where the national ratio is around 91% – and that that’s not including Costa Libertad import Lourenço Figueroa nor zero-hero goalkeeper Daniel Abanda who was signed for parts of two seasons but never played in a competitive match.
“If you look at the great African players who have starred for Transvaler teams, and I’m talking here the big-name legends – like Bert Schut, Dingiswayo Ngwane, Eugene Tchami, Benin Ndiako, and Noukeu Keita – they’ve almost always gravitated towards Welwitschia or the Hornets,” commented Manager Bartnel Botha.
“Lord knows we’ve tried to diversify our roster but when we’ve tried to bring in African prospects, like Dingiswayo Ngwane (the older brother of Cetshwayo) or GB Bathoen, they really struggled to land a spot. The best example is certainly Dingiswayo, who struggled through a handful of games before jumping for the Kaapstad Hornets. Now, after ten seasons of superstardom in the Nordreich Liga, Dingiswayo is probably one of the greatest fullbacks ever seen in that league. I would say he probably the greatest fullback ever from Transvaal.”
With those numbers stacked against him, newly-signed Dési Baako is nevertheless hoping to make an immediate impact.
“My goal right now is to score 14 goals – because that is how many Bushunmo Fuse, the leading African scorer for the Springboks, scored during his career,” Baako told us when contacted for this interview with the Johannesburg Free Press. “I am not shy about saying that I want to become the best black goal-scorer the Springboks have ever seen. Just watch me...”
- Hennie van der Block, reporting for JFP
AUGUST 14, 2012 - Awards night at Loftus Versfeld
At the club awards dinner held tonight at the Loftus Versfeld clubhouse, the Transvaal Voetbalsvereniging and club executive of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 14 player accomplishments:
- MVP Trophy - Player of the Season: Jakob Kruger
- Goalkeeper of the Season: François Théron
- Fullback of the Season: Leon Hooiber
- Midfielder of the Season: Emmanuel Hörtnagl
- Forward of the Season: Jakob Kruger
- Most Improved Player: Jakob Kruger
- Best Prospect / Rookie / Reserve Player: Pieter van Uys
- Golden Boot (most goals): Jakob Kruger (9)
- Most assists: Emmanuel Hörtnagl & Stien van Buyten (7)
- Most points: Emmanuel Hörtnagl (13)
- Most X11 Selections: Detlef Botha (7)
Along with perennial X11 merit achiever Detlef Botha, three Springboks earnt their first-ever X11 merit awards:
- Detlef Botha - 1st most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Primera Liga; 1st in Liga Mundo overall
- Arlindo Kaká - 3rd Most assists (6 assists) in Primera Liga
- Cetshwayo Ngwane - 2nd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Primera Liga; tied for 2nd overall in Liga Mundo
- Naas Pienaar - 3rd most sending offs (1 red card) in Primera Liga; tied for 3rd overall in Liga Mundo
Season 15 PrimeraEdit
SEPTEMBER 23, 2012 - Die Bokke in blockbuster deal
Struggling and injured midfielder Naas Pienaar was sold today by Transvaal Springboks for $5,000,000 rand – the highest amount ever paid for a Springbok player and $700,000 rand more than the Milan Bosch transfer in June.
“Pienaar never really found himself a niche with this team and his constant struggles with attitude, form – and recently, injuries – finally wore out our patience with him. He always seemed the odd-man out on our midfield, never really gelling with any of the veterans. He had a lot of potential but it just wasn’t going to be found with our club.
The deal comes on the heels of news from an anonymous inside source that Manager Bartnel Botha had been “…in negotiations with Syracuse Salty Dogs in recent days for one of their midfielders and that had spurred the sudden move by the club to finally unload the injured Pienaar. However interest in said Syracuse player has also soured receltly,” our source told us.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2012 - Springboks toughen up midfield
Manager Bartnel Botha continued his long-term plan to beef up the ’Boks midfield by signing 18-year-old youngster Marais van der Merwe as the replacement for recently-departed Naas Pienaar.
Along with fellow reserve Pieter van Uys (whose name is pronounced almost like “fun ice”), Van Der Merwe is another young, hardnosed Afrikaner player who will fit into the Springboks punishing midfield style of play.
“As we prepare for the third generation of Springboks, we are looking to return to our roots with the formidable crunching style we terrorized the league back in the days of Dick Witchge, Bert van der Meer, and Gert Grünholz.”
“Both of these youngsters play a hard style and take no prisoners - perfect for Transvaal football. Even though he has had limited playing time so far, we are already starting to see signs of brilliance with Van Uys this season as he is currently pacing our starting veterans for production,” commented Manager Botha.
“Van Uys and Van Der Merwe bring elements to our midfield that we have been sorely lacking in many recent seasons. Apart from Figueroa, we’ve never had an outside sniper who could challenge opposing keepers – while Van Der Merve brings the calculating control of play characterised by Emms Hörtnagl and the speed of retired legend Henk Schot.”
OCTOBER 23, 2012 - Party night at the Loftus Versfeld
The Loftus Versfeld stadium was the venue for the Charity match between the Boks and Estrella Roja. A plethora of old faces from both teams respective past were in attendance and with both sets of fans singing in unison there was a great atmosphere for what transpired to be a pretty one sided match. From the off the Springboks superior quality was evident and in the 17th minute the home side went ahead from a set piece, Boekweg's beautifully weighted corner kick was easily slotted into the net by Van Buyten. To Estrella Roja's credit they managed to defend well enough for the remainder of the first half under a great deal of pressure from the Boks.
But Roja's determined defensive play was worn down and eventually overwhelmed by the talented Springboks when Bismarck Steyn's cutting pass into the box was latched onto by Balthazar Botha who showed great skill to retain the ball as the tackles rained in and lashed the ball through Vírgilio Barreto's legs in the 64th minute. The goal prompted two changes by Red Star with Tito and Qvick making way for Garoafã and Åbom. However this only held the Boks for a little while and it would be towards the end of the match that the home side superior ability and fitness would prove telling when 6 minutes from time Detlef Botha delivered a magnificent freekick to make it 3-0. And the Boks captain inflicted further pain upon the by now crumbling Estrella Roja when he launched a blistering long range shot in injury time to make it 4-0.
The final scoreline served to confirm how dominant the home side was with the Boks having an overwhelming percentage of ball possession However the real victors of the night were the two set of fans who sung in unison for large portions of the match, the historic friendly rivalry between the two teams was personified by the atmosphere on show in the stands. However for Red Star the end of the match also meant the return of focus to the impending business of the Tercera Liga with De Bushalte FC playing Roja at the Estadio de Sierra Curon on thursday evening.
OCTOBER 28, 2012 - Boks captain opts for early retirement
Transvaal Springboks management and team captain Leon Hooiber have reached an agreement for the 34-year-old veteran to take an early retirement.
With an aging veteran core, Hooiber recognized that Die Bokke needed to bring their fullback reserves more into the fore as himself and line-mate Joep Boekweg neared their twilight years.
“I brought up with Manager Botha the fact that both myself and Boekweg probably only had another 2 or 3 seasons between us remaining – and it was critical that our youngsters Bismarck Steyn and Paul Grünholz started seeing more playing time as starters,” explained Hooiber.
“Boekweg is a true legend in this league and his sudden departure would be a traumatic event for both the league and the club - so I felt that if I made the first step and announced my immediate retirement, then Boekweg still had a guaranteed place to continue on with the team as a defensive mentor.”
Hooiber also admitted that his recent injury made him pause for reflection on his playing future.
The stay-at-home Hooiber joined the team in the later half of Season 3 as the club's most expensive ($7,700,000) signing to date. Due to his strong leadership prowess on the field, Hooiber soon found himself named team captain the following season at the youthful age age of 23. Hooiber played his 100th game during Season 11 in the opening match of Copa Cato III on January 10, 2011.
He led the Springboks as their captain for twelve and a half seasons until he opted for an early retirement mid-way through Season 15 and was released by the club on October 28, 2012. At the time of his retirement, he had played in 184 career matches for the club (tied for 4th place), scored 3 goals and had 24 points to his name. He was named to the X11 Team 17 times during his 13-season career.
His final match was played on October 25, 2012 - a 5-3 loss to rivals VolNation Volunteers.
OCTOBER 28, 2012 - VolNation Survives Shootout At Loftus
Cue " A Fistful Of Dollars" musical score:
Captain's meeting at the coinflip, VolNation Mighty Volunteers team captain Arthur Basso was picked up replying to a comment by Transvaal Springbok captain Leon Hooiber: "When a man with .45 meets a man with a Winchester, you said, the man with a pistol's a dead man. Let's see if that's true. Go ahead, load up and shoot."
90 minutes later, when the final whistle blew and the dust settled, a whole lot of shooting had happened (19 shots in all). Apparently, the team with the pistol won as the VolNation Mighty Volunteers walked out of the Loftus Versfeld stadium having landed 5 shots to Transvaal's 3 and winning the first leg of the back-to-back matches.
This was classic VolNation-Transvaal football as the shots and and the cards were both played fast and furious. Right out of the gate, Transvaal right defensive midfielder Emmanuel Hörtnagl and VolNation left fullback Mark Blankenship mixed it up, with Hörtnagl getting carded for shirt pulling and Blankenship getting a yellow for yapping at the ref about that shirt-pulling. Transvaal left mid Detlef Botha was also in full form, and also got a yellow for running his mouth at the referee, suggesting Constance Paine had need of Lasix surgery. The game got serious in the 18th minute as Transvaal center forward Christopher de Beers chipped in a shot, only to see it skim just over the crossbar. Then Transvaal centermid Arlindo Kaká got a crack at the goal in the 25th minute, but shanked it and bounced it off the post instead. After Transvaal's first two shots missed, VolNation squeezed off their first, and it was a dead-on hit as Basso delivered a precision free kick that found the upper left corner for a goal in the 28th minute.
VolNation had drawn first blood, but Transvaal had plenty of bullets left. Two minutes later, it was de Beers again, this time on a breakaway off a pass from Kaká. His well-placed shot found the mark, and the hit count was an even 1 and 1. This blooding drew a response from VolNation in the 32nd minute in the form of a toe-kick from center mid Nathaniel Reichle, but his blast was well expected and expertly covered by Transvaal keeper François Théron. The Mighty Vols were back three minutes later, as left mid Michael Pitts tried flicking in a header, but sent it just high. After the restart, it was the Mighty Vols coming back down, but their attack was momentarily halted when VolNation Kayode Giwa was leveled by an elbow from Transvaal right back Cetshwayo Ngwane. A yellow was produced and Basso took another free kick. The former-ALDM killer showed his ability to annhilate another target with his free kick prowess and put another shot into Transvaal to take the score up to 2-1.
Now VolNation had Tranvaal's range, and it was striker Rudolf Fäste's turn in the 39th minute. Taking the feed from center back Johnny Gilliam, Fäste notched his league leading 10th league goal by placing his shot just centimeters inside the post to beat the keeper. With a 3-1 lead, the Mighty Vols went into the lockers for the half, but not before Pitts drew a yellow from a poorly thought out rear tackle.
When play resumed, right away Giwa got an opportunity to deliver some payback from Ngwane's earlier shot as a penalty kick was called on a takedown in the box. Giwa made sure that revenge was served as he drilled another bullet into Transvaal, making it 4-1. Sensing a rout, the Mighty Vols kept pushing, and in the 50th minute, saw a diving header from Fäste head toward goal, but was just wide. Right back came the Mighty Vols after the goal kick with another shot, but Blankenship's header went wide as well.
Partly to slow down the game and partly to give some juice to the offense, Transvaal subbed in the youngster Dési Baako for Christopher de Beers. What Baako was able to do is smartly goad Nathaniel Reichle into a push that was seen by the ref and earned N. Reichle a yellow for his efforts. However, the VolNation shots kept coming, right away via anothe free kick on goal. This time, Basso landed the ball at Giwa's feet, where he half-volleyed it, but right within the reach of Théron.
The saying is that the most dangerous Springbok was a wounded one, and VolNation learned again the validity of that saying. Transvaal finally got the ball downfield and took another shot at the VolNation goal via the free kick. Detlef Botha tapped it to Hörtnagl who whistled at shot on goal, but VolNation keeper Christopher Rojas was all over it. That free kick broke the VolNation stranglehold on shottaking, and the Springboks followed that up with another shot on goal moments later. Right mid Mark Verwayen got an excellent look at the near post, but he shanked his shot and it skittered just right. The 'Boks followed that right up, as Hörtnagl crossed it over the box to striker Balthazar Botha, who didn't shank his header but blasted it instead into the net to land another hit for Transvaal.
With this resurgence, Coach Philip decided it was time to bolster the back line, subbing in Sérgio Cambiasso for centerback Jeremy Fogerty. This move did not pay off immediate dividends, as Transvaal immediately shot true again, this time off a flick header by Verwayen off a pass by Baako that eluded Rojas at the right post, and at the 68th minute, the VolNation lead was down to 1.
That was when the winds shifted again. First, the veteran Transvaal right back Joop Boekweg got carded for taking a dive. Then, following another defensive substitution by Coach Philip bringing in Leroy Dixon for centerback Gilliam, it was Giwa that pushed the ball downfield and found midfielder Lloyd Fry in the box. Fry flicked home the pass, and the Mighty Vols now had their 5th hit.
Now down two goals and time drawing close, Transvaal made a very smart move, subbing out the volatile Detlef Botha before he picked up a red card, replacing him with Lourenço Figueroa. But the shots weren't done firing. Int he 83rd minute, Giwa fired off what was hoped to be the knockout blow on a header, but it just missed the goal. After that, Coach Philip used his third move, switching in Caleb Reichle for Nathaniel to get fresh legs in the center of the field. This was a good call, as Transvaal wasn't quitting, for in the 92nd minute, they got another free kick opportunity. Kaká went for the gold, putting his shot on goal, but Rojas was there to make the stop and put down the Springboks for good.
Going into the wrap-around match, the VolNation casualty in the first shootout was Nathaniel Reichle, who now will be suspended for the next match due to cards. Giwa was injured at the end of the match, but looks to be fully recovered by game time. For Transvaal, the big blow was the announcement of the retirement of captain Leon Hooiber, who has now left the club. What toll these will bring for the second match is hard to tell, but the loss of someone of Hooiber's caliber and experience will be hard to replace. Either Paul Grünholz or Bismarck Steyn will get the start, but the inexperience on the corner, plus the hole in the midfield due to Hörtnagl's suspension due to cards looks to give VolNation an edge in their attempt to complete the sweep.
OCTOBER 31, 2012 - Baby Boks becoming Bash Boks
After being drawn into the Gorce Sumulikoski sweepstakes and kicking the tires out of curiosity, Transvaal Springboks decided to continue with their long-term plan to focus around character and toughness when they signed 19-year-old Riaan Strijdom as a replacement project for departed Leon Hooiber.
“Yes, we did seriously ask about Gorce,” stated Manager Bartnel Botha.
“The sticker price was a little dear but still within our budget if we wanted to bite – however I think the tipping point was we really weree looking for more ‘character’ qualities and Gorce Sumulikoski just didn’t seem to have what we were looking for”.
In Strijdom, the Springboks have acquired yet another punishing bruiser to fortify their reserve line as well as game smarts in the backfield.
“We’ve been sorely lacking the last 10 seasons in someone who ramps up the meanness factor in our defence that Transvaal football used to be famous – and notorious – for and made our foes tremble when they came to Loftus Versfeld. We see him developing into another Bert van der Meer.”
Season 16 PrimeraEdit
DECEMBER 30, 2012 - The Grand Old Man hangs up his cleats
Joop "Radar" Boekweg wore #2 and played in 15 seasons from Season 1 until the end of Season 15. An original Springbok, the hardworking Boekweg gained legendary status after playing his 100th match on August 21, 2009, the first Springbok to reach the century mark and the 7th player in Liga Mundo history to do so.
In Season 10 Boekweg became the first Springbok player to earn 50 selections to the X11 Teams.
After the departure of Henk Schot in Season 12, he became the last remaining player from the original expansion roster. He played in his 200th match on December 1, 2011.
"The Grand Old Man" of Transvaal football, Boekweg played in a total of 253 matches (35 of them cup games) and was named to the X11 Team 73 times. He scored 9 goals (3 of them in Season 8) and bagged 30 assists for 39 points. His only league merits came during Season 11 when he finished 3rd for most bookings (5 yellow cards) in the Primera Liga and then late in his career in Season 15 when he was 3rd in sendings-off (1 red card) - and his only appearance on the Primera all-star team was in Season 4.
While his given name was in fact "Joop", it was almost always misspelt as "Joep". He acquired the nickname "Radar" during the early days of the club from always flying under the radar when the transfer deadline loomed. He was released by the club on December 30, 2012 after the 37-year-old announced his impending plans for retirement during the off-season after Season 15.
JANUARY 1, 2013 - New Years Eve at Loftus Versfeld
At the club's New Year's Eve awards dinner held tonight at the Loftus Versfeld clubhouse, the Transvaler Voetbalsvereniging and club executive of the Transvaal Springboks announced the following awards handed out by management in recognition of Liga Mundo Season 15 player accomplishments:
- MVP Trophy - Springbok Player of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Goalkeeper of the Season: François Théron
- Fullback of the Season: Cetshwayo Ngwane
- Midfielder of the Season: Detlef Botha
- Forward of the Season: Jakob Kruger
- Most Improved Player(s): Dave Ashcroft and Cetshwayo Ngwane
- Best Prospect / Rookie / Reserve Player: Dave Ashcroft
- Golden Boot (most goals): Jakob Kruger (10)
- Most assists: Stien van Buyten (6)
- Most points: Detlef Botha (16)
- Most X11 Selections: Detlef Botha (12)
Reflective of the Springboks' “team toughness” attitude, the following four players also picked-up Primera Liga merit awards:
- Joop Boekweg - 3rd most sending-offs (1 red card)
- Balthazar Botha - 3rd most bookings (5 yellow cards)
- Detlef Botha - 2nd most bookings (5 yellow cards)
- Pieter van Uys - 1st most sending-offs (1 red card)
FEBRUARY 14, 2013 - Detlef Botha new ’Boks manager
After today’s 2-1 loss to VolNation Volunteers at Loftus Versfeld, Springboks manager Bartnel Botha admitted during the post-game press conference that the Springboks season was over and supporters should now begin to prepare for life in the Segunda Liga.
Mired 5 points deep in the relegation zone and with only 2 draws from 6 matches, Botha stated that he had no further magic rabbits to pull out of his hat in an attempt to starve off relegation for the Original 4 club.
Twice before Transvaal Springboks narrowly avoided relegation either through fortunately-timed club foldings – as what happened after Season 2 – or when the gaffer himself had to put on his cleats and step in as a player when Bartnel Botha came out of retirement as an emergency goalkeeper during Season 12.
Then, just as he was getting up to leave, he leaned towards the microphone for one last statement.
“Effektiewe môre bedank ek as bestuurder van die Springbokke en Detlef Botha sal as my plaasvervanger genoem word. Ek sal as kommissaris van Liga Mundo bly, maar...”
Immediately, camera flashes went off by the South African pressmen – while the foreign reporters in attendance scrambled for translations of Botha’s statement which was being spoken in Afrikaans:
“Effective tomorrow, I resign as manager of the Springboks and Detlef Botha is named as my replacement. I will remain as Commissioner of Liga Mundo, but it is now time to hand the reigns of the club over to a new generation and focus solely on my league duties.”
Then switching to English, once the press assembled had had time to digest his statement, he continued:
“For many seasons, I have been quietly grooming the Bokke captain for this day – and after today’s result, the timing seems perfect now. Besides today was Detlef’s 200th career match in Liga Mundo; it is a perfect sign that he has the clout and player respect to effectively take the reins of the team and lead as a player, a team captain, and now manager.”
FEBRUARY 18, 2013 - Around the Liga: Detlef Botha interview
This Sunday afternoon, the footballing press finally got their first access to the Springboks’ new player-manager, the legendary midfielder Detlef Botha:
What do you blame the team's struggles on this season, and what does it say to fans to be throwing in the towel before the halfway point in the season when you're only 5 points from getting out of the relegation zone? - Simeon Wilcocks, Syracuse Free Press
I don’t think there is just ‘one’ aspect we can blame – it’s just a lot of ill-timed issues that have snowballed into a mess this season. There are a few reasons I see for the team’s struggles this season:
Every season since the departure of Thurston Alderton, our goalkeeping has become more and more out-classed – so we are bleeding goals there. Pair that with the departures of Joop Boekweg and Leon Hooiber, so our defensive line doesn’t have the veteran leadership it needs. We’ve endured major injuries to all three starting fullbacks – we have not been able to dress all three in the same match since last season. In other words, our defense, one of our hallmarks in the past, is taking a beating.
Overall, form has been lackluster in our midfield – only Lourenço Figueroa is performing at an optimum level. The only bright spot right now is our forwards as a group seem to be performing well, but because they are not getting the backfield support, goal scoring opportunities have been few and far between.
We also have, in my personal opinion, a couple of deadwood players who are not pulling their share of the weight given their ability. If they don’t noticeably improve during the off-season, I think you will see them being shopped around before next season gets underway.
As for the whole ’throwing in the towel’ comment, the truth is we will still field competitive teams each and every game – but we need to also open up playing spots for our reserve players. Instead of just going with the starting 11, what you will see is we will go with the 11 players with peak form. After all, if players want to play and are ready to play, then by all means play ‘em!
This team is nearing a crossroads where we need to look beyond our starting 11. Looking at our position in the table now and looking ahead long-term, the club’s reasoning is that either we take the fall now and work around it – or scrape by and survive the drop only to take the fall next season when we are in an even worse state and we don’t have the funds to plug holes. I don’t like admitting defeat, but the truth is we are better to take a step backwards now to build two steps for tomorrow. If you look at the match-ups we have remaining and home-away advantage and factors like that, we are actually more like 10 points behind. Our squad against VolNation last week was our best outing this season, yet we couldn’t even manage a draw. If we can’t get points against current mid-table sides, what is going to happen against the high flyers?
Detlef, you hold the Liga Mundo records for most yellow and red cards throughout your career. How do you intend to incorporate this brutal style into your management of Transvaal? – Vanderbilt Free Press
Well, for the past two or three seasons the club has been recruiting players that fit into the mold of team-toughness – which is a characteristic that most people know I firmly subscribe to. With our new generation of players, we are looking to return to the very early days of Springboks football when teams were held in fear of our punishing defensive game from Van Der Meer, Witchge, and Grünholz Senior. That’s why we’ve brought in guys like Van Uys, De Beers, Strijdom, and Van Der Merwe, all who will terrorise their opponents when they reach their peak years.
However, this team has also been particularly weak for specialized players – especially offensive abilities like shooting and goal-scoring abilities. All incoming players are being recruited with triple-specialisation in mind – new guys such as Van Schalkwyk, who you will one day see replace me as our freekicker.
Lastly, all incoming players since around Season 9 or 10 have been groomed with a 25/10 benchmark in mind - in that by the time they reach age 25, they are ranked a 10 or more in their skill. Except in two cases, we’ve been able to maintain that benchmark. And to maintain that goal, we get back to the issue again of needing to play our youngsters as well as cutting lose the deadwood who aren’t pulling their weight when required.
How will your on-field perspective affect your style of management, and how will you keep track of substitutions from the field?
One advantage of being a player-manager is you are more aware and in tune with the team work and general on-field co-ordination between players. The game is always perceived differently from the sidelines and in the stands than how it appears to unfold to players on the pitch. As for substitutions, any injury subs will be dealt by an assistant coach – while should the need arise to make tactical replacements during a match, these will be communicated during half-time and television breaks if need be. On game day, I’ll be relying on our assistant coaches as much as we’ve always relied on them in the past.
Don't you feel that your on pitch persona as an over-preening diva will inhibit the effective management of a passable football team?
Any plans to limit the violence on the field now that you're in a role of greater responsibility?
[Laughs] “Fans of girly football will continue to be disappointed at Loftus Versfeld – considering 4 of our last 7 acquisitions were brought in to toughen things up.”
FEBRUARY 28, 2013 - Caetano sold; Torgo signing now rumoured
Springboks manager Detlef Botha made his first roster move today when long-time understudy keeper Lourenço Caetano was sold for approximately R2,250,000 rand. It was no secret that the team captain and now new manager of The ’Boks was unimpressed with Caetano’s chronic underachievement and lazy play.
Caetano played 9 seasons with the Springboks, joining the club in Season 8 as a 17-year-old prodigy to be groomed by the legendary Thurston Alderton for eventual first-team status. The youngster showed immediate promise in his debut season, when he had a 100% save average in 6 matches – but then his form and development began to subsequently stall despite given ample playing time.
In the meanwhile, the old warhorse François Théron will continue as the Springbok’s starting keeper until a replacement is signed – although his position had never seriously been challenged by Caetano.
The name now on everyone’s lips as the future Springboks starter is Manos Torgo, the famed goalkeeper who played for Windhoek Welwitschia for 14 seasons.
Heralded as the greatest Transvaler goalkeeper since the retirement of Thurston Alderton, Manager Detlef Botha confirmed today that he has had meetings with Torgo about coming out of retirement and suiting up for Die Bokke.
Manos “The Hands of Fate” Torgo played in the Vedder League from VL Season 4 until the Windhoek club folded at the end of VL Season 17. In the Vedder League, he was ranked 5th in all-time career matches played by a goalkeeper with 73 games played during regular-season play. Torgo’s career with Windhoek Welwitschia spanned a total of 95 matches and he was regarded to be the greatest Transavler goalkeeper by the time the club ceased operations. His strongest efforts came in VL Season 16 when he had an 83% save average. He played a season-high of 14 games in VL Season 13 and was instrumental in leading the club to its second and third league championships.
APRIL 25, 2103 - ’Boks win but officially relegated
After enduring a painful 13-game winless streak, Transvaal Springboks finally notched their first win of the season by downing Syracuse Salty Dogs 4-1 at Syracuse Memorial Stadium.
However, while the win was welcomed by all in Die Bokke Nation, that jubilation soon turned to sorrow when word reached of the nil-nil draw in Marseille, which effectively sealed the coffin on the Springboks’ tenure in the Primera Liga as the team was consigned to relegation next season. Arcadia FC's 15 points in the table now puts Primera survival out of reach for Transvaal.
“We won the battle today – but have lost the war,” commented a dismayed player-manager Detlef Botha after the match.
Season 17 SegundaEdit
MAY 12, 2013 - Springboks adjust to life in Segunda
A terrible season for Transvaal Springboks has brought relegation after 16 seasons in the Primera Liga – and on the heels of that, a terrible change report with just 6 visible increases and 1 reduction.
Manager Detlef Botha was blunt in his assessment, stating that he was “…disappointed with the progress our players made last season – although looking forward, at least in the Segunda Liga we will begin to win games again and that will in turn help with our development. On a positive note, I am happy with how our reserve players progressed.”
In other news, Detlef Botha announced he was stepping down as captain of the Springboks after just one and a half seasons. The 32-year-old veteran, currently hobbling around on crutches nursing an injury he picked up two weeks ago against Marseille FC, had replaced longtime skipper Leon Hooiber midway through Season 15 – but then felt he had too much power acuminated in his hands when he put on the manager’s hat midway through last season after Springboks owner Bartnel Botha stepped down from his management role to concentrate on his commissioner duties.
“When you are a player-manager, it does create a different perspective and sometimes a different dichotomy amongst the rest of the players, so I felt that it would help our team if I stepped down as captain,” commented Botha.
In his place, and in a somewhat surprise move to shake things up, Manos “The Hands of Fate” Torgo has been name the fourth Springboks captain. While new to Liga Mundo, after being coaxed out of retirement midway through last season when Lourenço Caetano was sold, the 28-year-old has a rich legacy from when he was the goalkeeper of the old Windhoek Welwitschia club in the Vedder League, earning him accolades as one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever play for a Transvaler club.
MAY 20, 2013 - François Théron released by Die Bokke
Signed as a free agent in Season 6, the 22-year-old François Théron [pronounced ‘fruhnswa trounn’] was signed for $1,100,000 and brought in to become an understudy of the legendary keeper Thurston Alderton.
Much hope was placed upon his shoulders as the future keeper of Die Bokke – and after Alderton was sold to ALDM during Season 11, Théron became the starting keeper for around three seasons until Manos Torgo was acquired midway through Season Season 16.
In his early seasons, as a back-up, he showed great potential when thrown into clutch situations – but when he finally landed the starter’s job, he found himself completely outclassed by the talent in the Primera Liga – having mostly played against weaker sides in cup play – and despite admirable efforts on the pitch, the Springboks nevertheless began to bleed goals to their detriment and eventual relegation by the start of Season 17.
After one impressive over-achieving campaign in Season 14, where his strength on breakaways, solid position, and nimble reflexes helped him stay afloat amongst the tough competition, he followed up with two subsequently-frustrating seasons. By the end of Season 16, he found himself replaced by former Windhoek Welwitschia great Manos Torgo, who was coaxed out of retirement, and consigned to the reserve roster.
In 80 matches for the Springboks, the second-most of any goalkeeper (at the time of writing), Théron managed a middle of the road 64% save average – but a miserable 11% on penalty shots. X11 selections were scarce; only twice was he named to an X11 team and both times it came in cup play.
He was released on May 20, 2013 just prior to the start of Season 17.
MAY 21, 2013 - Japanese signs with Springboks
Springboks manager Detlef Botha raised some eyebrows today when he announced that 18-year-old Japanese import Yamamoto Sugoi had been signed to a contract.
“Sure, signing an Asian player will get some folks’ knickers in a knot and piss off some of our narrow-minded supporters… but frankly, I don’t care. Besides, we’ve had other foreigners on this team who’ve contributed and done well. This kid will bring aspects that our attack has been sorely lacking for most of the club’s existence, namely someone with a decent shot,” commented the gruff manager during the press conference.
“If we are going to compete and challenge again at the topmost levels, we need to look outside South Africa for our talent. We’ve always shackled ourselves with having one foot in the hole as a ‘national’ team and the other foot as a ‘club’ team. Well, today I signed someone in the mentality of our club team.”
JUNE 7, 2013 - Boks manager frustrated by the stetcher
Detlef Botha does not deny that he has had a black cloud hanging over him since being appointed the Springboks manager midway through last season.
He saw his team suffer the ignominy of relegation well before the books were closed on Season 16 – and on a personal level, he’s been battling what seems like a never-ending injury bug.
After missing four weeks – albeit most of it during the off-season – from injuries, he returned to lead Die Bokke as it begun life in the Segunda Liga. However, just two weeks into the current season, another serious injury struck down the hard-edged performer during last Thursday’s 3-0 win against Clachnacuddin
“After last season’s injury and a frustrating personal performance distracted by the move into management and some other issues, I was really looking forward to bouncing back in the Segunda Liga and elevating my game back to the level it was a couple of seasons ago,” said Detlef over the telephone from his bed at the Pretoria Staatshospitaal. “It'll end up being that in a span of two to three months, from April until July, I’ll have probably played 3 competitive matches. I’m on the sidelines again for what doctors are telling is probably four weeks.”
“It’s tough to constantly watch from the sidelines – especially now that we are finally winning some matches again.”
Since joining the Segunda Liga, Springboks have had an easy time with two 3-0 wins in league play and a 5-0 clobbering of the reborn ALDM.
“Mind you, we’ve gone up against essentially glorified Tercera sides so far – so I am anticipating some challenges when we go up against Melloria, Ocean’s Gold, and Arcadia FC. I believe we can win the divisional title and return to the Primera, but we are taking things one game at a time.”
One boon the Springboks are seeing now in the Segunda is development.
“The great thing about being in the Segunda is we can now afford to give our reserves more quality playing time. That was becoming a struggle in the Primera. A lot of our fans see playing Segunda ball a negative set-back, but I think over the long haul it will strength us for when we return to the Primera. We’ve had a few seasons of tough losing – but nothing betters development than winning games. Once I got over the initial shock of demotion, I warmed up to Segunda ball and what positives it would bring to our boys after all the negativity of the last few campaigns.”
JUNE 15, 2013 - Manager Detlef pads Bokke roster
Taking advantage of new league rules permitting 23-man roster, Springboks manager Detlef Botha was quick to make two new signings as Transvaal Springboks saw their roster grow to 22 players.
“I thought playing in the Segunda Liga would severely hamper our player development – especially in regards to our veterans – but in fact it has been the opposite. Throughout our roster’s ranks, from grizzled legends to first-year players, we are seeing solid, early development. So much so, that I felt we could perhaps dabble in the transfer market and scoop up some affordable project players, and see how they fare by the end of the season.”
With that in sight, teenagers Dieter Schweissing and Bart Schoenaker were signed to try-out contracts after scouting contacts in Germany brought the pair to Manager Botha’s attention.
“Emms Hortnagl’s old amateur coach in Dortmund tipped us off about them, so the club decided to fly them in for trials. Both have some qualities that will become useful if either one – or both – manages to impress our coaching staff and signs long term with the club.”
JULY 5, 2013 - Next four matches make or break
During what is becoming almost customary, Springboks manager Detlef Botha spoke to the press today from his hospital bed:
“With our next four league matches up against the Oceans and Arcadia, who are both breathing down our necks from second and third place, these results will basically decide how we will finish this season. I don’t doubt we will be challenging for promotion, but winning these matches will make our efforts down the road a lot easier - or, more difficult - as it would put some much-needed space between us and them.”
Transvaal Springboks will however need to improve after last Thursday’s near riot at Loftus Versfeld, when relegation-mired Debate Land Orators managed to dissect the home team for an ugly 4-2 win. Manager Detlef, who was making his return after being on the sidelines for almost four weeks due to injuries, found himself once again riding the stretcher off the pitch when he went down in the 79th minute from a chippy Theo Witvoet tackle.
Doctors have assessed the player-manager will be gone until the end of the month – although fortunately only two matches will be missed as the Springboks have two byes occurring this month as well, flanking their mid-season doubleheader versus Arcadia FC.
“Yeah, for sure the injury bug is starting to get really annoying,” said Detlef Botha. “I was all geared up and mentally prepared for a renaissance campaign after last season’s personal and team mess on the pitch, but I’ve only been able to manage 4 matches since April – and two of them involved me getting injured. It’s damned hard to score goals and help win games while being carried around on a stretcher.”
But the Springboks gong show had begun before Detlef Botha’s untimely injury, as enforcer Marais van der Merwe was expelled from the match when he took a random swing at Orators fullback DM Woodward after Die Bokke had conceded two quick goals which reversed the home side’s lead.
Newcomer Bart Schoenaker made his debut on the Boks’ back line but his performance was fairly lacklustre and he was subbed out early in the second half. Management haven’t yet made their decision on Schoenaker’s future with the club – unlike midfielder Dieter Schweissing, who has already bagged his first senior goal after two matches and quickly won the praises of the club management with his plucky performances.
AUGUST 16, 2013 - Boks gaffer makes signing steal
Springboks player-manager Detlef Botha ended up on the winning end of a bidding war last night when he managed to beat out 6 other bids for the services of 18-year-old speedster fullback Adriaan Spaa.
“We got him for a real steal, at around 55% his market value. Our earlier bid was a lowball to test the waters and was easily outbid a couple of hours later. I then submitted our second bid seconds before the deadline and we managed to land him,” explained Detlef Botha.
The acquisition of Spaa now puts the future of project player Bart Schoenaker in serious doubt. Schoenaker has appeared in 2 matches this season for the Springboks but has done little to wow Manager Detlef Botha in those outtings.
Rumours coming out of Loftus Verfeld are that Schoenaker will be given a couple more starts before decision time is made on his future – although others have said he may be floated on transfers prior to release.
“I’m on the fence with Bart – if he makes strong progress in the off-season reports, then he’s a keeper for sure… but that’s ‘if’… right now, we’re seeing mediocre development at best from him.”
SEPTEMBER 2, 2013 - Gloria de Verano Quarter-Final at Loftus Versfeld
VolNation Volunteers 2, Nordheim Badgers FC 0
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria (attendance: 51,762)
A sunny, late winter evening in Pretoria with the mercury reaching 18’C, saw a capacity crowd of 52,000 fill the rafters at Loftus Versfeld on Monday evening as VolNation Volunteers and Nordheim Badgers FC met in the Gloria de Verano quarterfinal match.
On the whole, the crowd was peaceable as Transvaal Springboks management reported that a large tract of tickets had been bought up by travelling fans – although the majority of the stadium was obviously filled by locals, with one-third of the crowd vocally supporting VolNation, one-third showing their support for Nordheim, and one-third ambivalent fans or neutral towards both teams.
Those unable to get their hands on tickets for the match listened to the play-by-play of Bokke beat-reporter Hennie van der Block and the colour commentary of Springboks manager Detlef Botha who broadcasted over the airwaves.
By and large the match was fairly low-key, often dull to a point at times, with only flashes of excitement.
The first half only saw three chances executed by both teams; the first attempt coming just five minutes in when VolNation forward Mingo Natula, one of the Vols reserves who found themselves in a starting role, let loose with a well-placed shot against Badgers keeper Ian McAlister, which was steered outside past the post for a corner, which VolNation was unable to capitalise.
The Badgers then had their first attempt on goal when forward Billy Warnock broke through the Vols’ four-man defensive line for a breakaway on VolNation back-up Nissim Basan. Warnock played the ball too long, seemingly trying to snipe the ball through the youngster’s legs – but failing miserably when the ball instead curved wide and sailed a metre beyond the goal post.
VolNation superstar Arthur Basso then tried to make paydirt on an airborne cross from Michael Pitts, but the heading effort brushed up and over the post by the narrowest of margins.
Five minutes later Referee Frank Redkard blew his whistle to sound the end of the first half and the score sitting at nil-all.
‘I must say that both teams look pretty flat,’ stated Detlef Botha during the intermission broadcast. ‘That was a nice play from Basso and Pitts, but it seems otherwise that everyone is holding back from doing anything, very cautious play by both teams – and when it’s happening, it’s these solo efforts. Very little teamwork going on out there right now, except for the Pitts-Basso combo, which was beautiful to watch develop from deep in the midfield. As for Warnock, he should have beaten the neophyte Vols keeper, he had ample time for the easy shot and he messed it up by trying to get all pretty. Problem is, they don’t hand out extra points for pretty goals.’
Referee Redkard got the second half under way – and right off the kick-off, VolNation launched on the attack as Arthur Basso brought the ball in deep, before booting it towards Mingo Natula, who then dove at the ball to head it past a flat-footed Ian McAlister to get VolNation Volunteers on the scoreboard at 1-0.
‘Beautiful, simply beautiful,’ commented Hennie van der Block immediately afterwards. ‘Basso is showing the 52,000 here today why he is one of the greatest field generals in Liga Mundo…’
‘…But you have to give this youngster Natula credit for reading the play,’ interjected Detlef Botha. ‘I never heard of this kid until today, but is he ever making his mark out there today!’
Seven minutes later, in the 53rd minute, the scoreline would increase to 2-0 for the Volunteers, as Nordheim skipper Derek Boyd tipped the ball back to McAlister for a clear, but failed to connect with his keeper, with the ball deflecting off and unfortunately dribbling into his own net.
Referee Redkard then began to live up to his name by doling out the bookings, as Nordheim and VolNation saw two players given yellow cards in an almost tit-for-tat fashion. However, both teams were obviously minding themselves around the referee otherwise, and the two bookings were enough to remind both teams to play with restraint.
Nordheim then tried to ramp up their game as they faced dwindling time on the clock. Midfielder Missim Shahak broke his way through the defence and then had a one-on-one against Basan. He tried to lob it over the Vols keeper but put a little too much punt on the ball it sailed over Basan only to bounce off the crossbar and away to safety.
VolNation would get one more try against McAlister to make it 3-0, but Rudolf Fäste was unable to control his header attempt and the ball flew up and over the goal clear by a metre or so.
Referee Redkard blew the final whistle after two minutes extra allowed for injury time.
‘Not the best display by these two teams, although admittedly it appears that VolNation did take a chance to go with a few reserves today,’ explained Detlef Botha during the post-game broadcast.
‘Mind you, often all VolNation needs is solid efforts from guys like Basso and Pitts and they’re already half way there,’ remarked Hennie van der Block. ‘Agreed,’ replied Botha, ‘Basso was outstanding today, but special mention must go out to Mingo Natula today. The kid really impressed me, he’s got some qualities in a youngster like him that I admire.’
Van der Block continued, ‘As for Nordheim, they just looked flat out there, nothing really positive for them to take away from this match. VolNation played a line-up that was beatable, and the Badgers still were unable to exploit the weaknesses. Where the heck was Abdul-Samad today? He was a non-entity out there, Nordheim won’t win many games when he decides to clock out of the action.’
Next up in GDV Cup action, VolNation will face Primera rivals Dynamo Dorpat at Skagafjörður Nords AFC while Swamplandia hosts Marseille FC versus Templar Forsworn.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2013 - Springboks cut Schoenaker adrift
The move coming as no surprise, Springboks playing-manager Detlef Botha terminated the contract signed with Bart Schoenaker after the 17-year-old fullback failed to impress club officials during his try-out with the Springboks.
“We will be floating him on the transfer sheets this week because we did pay less than his estimated value – so there is the possibility we could re-coop the amount we paid for him. But otherwise, he won’t see any more playing time and as far as I am concerned, he’s no longer part of the squad.”
Meanwhile, newcomers Dieter Schweissing and Yamamoto Sugoi continue to remain in the good books of Detlef Botha – while, Adriaan Spaa, who joined the club around three weeks ago, is still having some difficulty adjusting to senior football, but is expected to settle in before the end of this season.
Schweissing is currently being mentored by the legendary Emms Hörtnagl and the 18-year-old has definitely listened to the old master, as he has picked up 3 goals in his 4 matches played.
“Dieter definitely has a major place in the future of this club if he continues to shine like he has been,” commented Hörtnagl when we caught up to him after a training session this past weekend. “Manager Botha decided to pair me up with him, because he saw similar styles in how we manoeuvre the ball and see the game play develop’
Meanwhile, Yamamoto has also shown promise in the parts of four matches he’s seen action in - bagging one goal.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 - Schoenaker stay of execution
As reported earlier this week, Bart Schoenaker, was slated to be cut from the Transvaal Springboks – however just minutes before the transfer deadline, Manager Detlef Botha has had a change of heart for the unfortunate 17-year-old fullback.
“Truth is, the kid has had the best form of anyone this week”, explained D Botha. “...which is saying something considering he had been in a slump when he arrived here.”
“And, as I was leaving my office at Loftus Versfeld a couple of days ago, to run some errands before I sat down and officially informed him that his services would no longer be required, I decided to take a short cut across the pitch – and there he was, all alone, practicing – even though it was not a training day for us.”
“Having failed to generate any interest on the waivers, and seeing first hand his determination and dedication to secure a spot with this club, I’ve decided to wait until the off-season before deciding his future.”
Season 18 PrimeraEdit
SEPTEMBER 29, 2013 - Botha Brothers set to retire next season
During this morning’s press conference at Loftus Versfeld, anticipated by the press to be called regarding discussion about the recent off-season progress report for the team, Springboks manager Detlef Botha dropped a bombshell that both himself and his older brother Balthazar would be hanging up their cleats at the end of Season 18.
“Last weekend, after a family dinner, the two of us sat down and discussed our future as players. It’s no secret that Balthazar has seen his game slow down in the past three seasons, while I have gone through hell and highwater with a bad string of major injuires for the past two seasons – as well as trying to concentrate with my management duties. With the Springboks returning to the Primera Liga, we thought we’d give it one more go on the playing field before retiring together after next season.”
Manager Detlef’s statement struck Die Bokke Nation supporters like a bolt of lightning. While most had been expecting Balthazar to announce his imminent retirement after playing substitute roles for most of last season, no one expected that Detlef would also quit playing. Considering the age of the Springboks veterans on the midfield, such as Verwayen, Van Buyten, and Hörtnagl, many expected Detlef had another three seasons or more in him.
However, it appears the never-ending string of injuries that began back in Season 15, and plagued him through a disastrous campaign which saw the Springboks fall from the Primera Liga and the management duties land on his shoulders, have finally taken their toll on the old warhorse. Granted he had a decent season playing in the Segunda Liga, one of his best statistically, but the injury bug still nagged him enough from having was expected from the Loftus Versfeld faithful to be his finest season for production with while playing against decidedly weaker opposition. Sure the flair was there many games, but at times the playing manager appeared distracted, tired, or losing his step when he needed to help led on the field. Or as one opposing player quipped, “the terror in Detlef was gone.”
Once the shock of his announcement had registered, Manager Detlef then continued with his assessment of the team’s off-season progress:
“By and large, I am really happy with how players progressed. There was only really one disappointment, considering the strong performance that player had during the limited games he played, but I’m expecting he will continue to excel and will do well next season. Otherwise, I think we did as well as could be expected.”
OCTOBER 6, 2013 - Balthazar bids goodbye after 17 seasons
After 17 seasons in Liga Mundo, Balthazar Botha has hung up his cleats and called it a day.
He was slated to retire at the end of the upcoming season, but has since opted to give up his playing spot for his 16-year-old nephew promoted from the Baby Boks junior squad.
Wearing #26 through out his 17 seasons in Liga Mundo, Balthazar Botha was the club's second junior prospect signing. In his early years, he generally played in the shadows of Gert Grünholz, Charles Brennan, and his younger brother Detlef.
The elder Botha’s most notable achievement is setting a Liga Mundo record in Season 4 when he scored 4 goals in a row in the space of 36 minutes as the Springboks demolished Gumbo Gods 7-1 on January 16, 2009. Balthazar reached legendary status on December 9, 2010 during Season 9. On May 19, 2011 he scored his 50th and 51st goals in a 4-0 win against Atlético Melloria to become the third Springbok to reach the 50-goal plateau.
Since Season 14, he has been eclipsed by his line-mate Jakob Kruger as the leading forward on the team. Balthazar assisted on Emmanuel Hörtnagl's goal on March 28, 2013 which was the Springboks' 500th regular season goal during a 4-2 loss to the VolNation Volunteers. He played in his 200th career match on June 13, 2013, during in a 3-3 draw in Season 17 versus RMI Armed Forces FC. His final two campaigns (Seasons 16 and 17) saw him more and more relegated to substitution roles.
He announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of Season 18 - however on October 6, 2013, he decided to resign his spot with the club in favour of his 16-year-old nephew Bismarck Botha, Jnr. His last competitive match was on August 22, 2013 when the Springboks defeated Debate Land Orators – although he appeared in one friendly right a week or so before the end of the season.
At the time of his departure, Balthazar Botha was ranked 5th in career games played (206), 2nd in goals (88), 7th in assists (32), and 2nd in career points with 120. He made the X11 teams 18 times, good enough for 3rd place in career statistics. He led all forwards in career games, goals, points, and X11 team selections (18). Regarded as somewhat of a cheater around the referees, he picked up 48 career bookings (2nd most for the club).
Taking the elder Botha's place now will be his 16-year-old nephew, Bismarck Botha, Jnr., whose father Bismarck Snr. was a member of the Windhoek Welwitschia club in the Vedder League for 10 seasons, playing in 68 matches and scoring 25 goals. Junior Botha follows in his father's (and Uncle Detlef's) footsteps for being an expert freekicker.
JANUARY 24, 2014 - Die Bokke faithful say goodbye to Detlef
After enduring a never-ending assault of major injuries last season, and with his older brother also retired, Detlef Botha made the announcement that he would hang up his cleats after this current season and concentrate solely on managing Die Bokke from the sidelines.
Wearing #17, the flamboyant younger brother of Balthazar Botha joined the club as a junior prospect in the later half of Season 4 and at his peak was most noted for his fearsome freekicking ability and physical toughness on the pitch. Considered by many at Loftus Versfeld to be the greatest Springbok player, Detlef has since Season 9 been the club's leading career pointman.
He made an immediate impact on the scoring charts in his second season but it wasn't until Season 8 when his dominance in his position became solidified on a league-wide scale with 1st or 2nd place finishes in the scoring charts as well as his first all-star section - and then repeated these achievements the following season.
He reached legendary status during the later half of Season 10 on March 3, 2011. Botha scored his (49th and) 50th career goal on April 7, 2011 in a 2-0 victory against Arcadia FC - only the second player to reach 50 goals. On September 12, in a Gloria de Verano cup match versus Dynamo Dorpat, Botha picked up an assist (and later in the match, a goal) to became the first Springbok player to reach the 100-point plateau.
He was named team captain on October 28, 2012 after Leon Hooiber hung up his cleats mid-way through Season 15. Heading into Season 16, Detlef Botha led the club in all career statistical categories (goals, assists, points, bookings, red cards, and X11) except for games played.
Botha played in his 200th bicentennial match on February 14, 2013. On the following day, Detlef Botha was named the Springboks' manager after Liga Mundo Commissioner Bartnel Botha resigned the previous day after 16 seasons at the helm of the club. Detlef’s debut campaign as manager ended up being a black cloud on his season, as the Springboks were consigned to relegation to the Segunda Liga weeks before Season 16 ended. Adding insult to ignominy, Detlef Botha suffered through his worst season statistically in his career and then succumbed to a serious injury heading into the final week of Season 16.
He voluntarily relinquished the team captaincy to goalkeeper Manos Torgo on May 12, 2013 after one and a half seasons. Three games into Season 17, Botha re-injured himself and missed almost four weeks of matches. He then re-injured himself on his return match and sat out the following four weeks.
At the start of Season 18, frustrated with the injury bug he fought against the previous season and now seeing his performance in decline, Deltef Botha announced his playing retirement at the conclusion of the season so that he could concentrate on management of the team. He then assigned himself a relief substitute role on the roster for his last season.
“It’s been tough to slog through these past few seasons as both the team and myself have had an endless struggle against our opponents,” commented calmly the usually combative and vocal 33-year-old midfielder.
“Under ideal circumstances, I would have liked to have played a couple more seasons – but my doctors are telling me to pack it in now while I can still move about without pain.”
JANUARY 26, 2014 - Season 18 milestone season for Die Bokke
While it may not seem so, as Transvaal Springboks have struggled to regain their previous success in the Primera Liga, this season has witnessed many historical milestones reached by the Transvaal Springboks. With a club history extending back to April 2007 and pre-dating the formation of Liga Mundo by some nine months, into the CNRP days of the UCFA Champions League and Transvaal World Cups, the following milestones were reached this season:
- 500th competitive match = October 17, 2013 at VolNation Volunteers
- 1000th goal scored = November 4, 2013 at Keville United FC (scored by Jakob Kruger)
- 100th draw = November 7, 2013 vs. Nordheim Badgers FC
- 200th loss = January 9, 2014 at Nordheim Badgers FC
- 600th point in standings = January 23, 2014 vs. Skagafjörður Nords AFC
Season 19 SegundaEdit
MARCH 31, 2014 - Templar defeated by Detlef's gum boots
After their narrow victory over Templar United in the Copa Cato, Springboks manager Detlef Botha was seen smuggly sporting a pair of brand-new wellington boots - in taunting response to comments made by Jahangir Wakil last week when he said that Templar were looking forward to "reminding the Bok's where they belong: beneath the Templar Boot".
"This one here, I call Jahangir, and this one I call Wakil", said the Boks manager as he pointed to his feet. "I plan on wearing them again on the sidelines in the next round, as they seem to have brought us some good fortune today."
APRIL 14, 2014 - Gumboots give Copa Cato champs the boot
Transvaal Springboks managed the impossible today.
Heading into the second leg of their semi-final series at Loftus Versfeld down by a 2-goal deficit against Dynamo Dorpat– and at one point in today’s match, finding themselves down three goals – the gumboot nation managed to claw their way back to push the game into extra time from a goal by Jakob Kruger in the dying minutes of regulation time.
Neither team could find the net during extra time which followed.
The Springboks then sent the Copa Cato champions packing in the shootout after goalkeeper Manos ‘The Hands of Fate’ Torgo held the Dorpat snipers at bay while his teammates buried the ball past Keenan Keegan three-times.
The final score read 3-1 with 3-0 PK edge for the underdogs.
Springboks manager Detlef Botha, sporting his trademark wellington boots on the sidelines, was ecstatic with the result as the Transvaal Springboks now make their first ever appearance in a cup final when they meet Guajolotes next Monday.
Whether the Gumboots, as their fans have started to nickname the team during its inexplicable cup run, on account of the team being taunted in the quarter-finals by the Templar ownership, can manage the impossible and make it three-upsets is anyone’s guess. The Springboks have traditionally used their cup runs as training games for their reserves, so the team is now in uncharted territory.
Latest rumour going around the club house at Loftus Versfeld is Detlef Botha is contemplating renaming the team the Gumboots for the rest of the season if they do manage to defeat the much-stronger Turkeys.
MAY 31, 2014 - Sugoi breaks Balthazar’s 4-goal record
On Thursday, May 29, 2014, Transvaal Springboks reserve forward Yamamoto Sugoi broke Balthazar Botha’s five-year Liga Mundo record for the fastest 4 goals scored by one player in one game, by shaving off 3 minutes from the record.
Going all the way back to Season 4, Balthazar Botha – himself a reserve player at the time - scored 4 consecutive goals in 36 minutes as the Springboks demolished the Gumbo Gods in their 7-1 rout on January 16, 2009.
Sugoi scored his four goals against the Skagafjörður Nords AFC in the 12, 25, 42, and 45 minute marks of the first half.
The victory over the Nords also secured the Springbok’s first-ever Team of the Month Award.
Season 20 LM Primera LigaEdit
JUNE 29, 2014 - Die Bokke say goodbye to Mark Verwayen
Mark Verwayen - midfielder; wore #7. (Season 1 to Season 19) - This unassuming but very adept ball-header was the third junior prospect to join the Transvaal Springboks in Season 1. After six seasons playing in the shadows as a substitute, Verwayen had a break-out campaign during Season 7 and secured first-team status which he held until his 19th season when he moved back to the reserves.
Verwayen played his 100th game during Season 11 in the opening match of Copa Cato III on January 10, 2011. During Season 15 on December 20, 2012, he played in his 200th career match - a 3-3 draw at Templar Forsworn.
Verwayen set up and assisted on Emmanuel Hörtnagl’s goal on April 21, 2014 which was the club's first and only goal scored in a cup final match - during the Copa Cato XII Finals against Guajolotes in Season 19. On May 22, 2014, he scored his 50th and ultimately final career goal during a 4-3 win over Debate Land Orators.
Mark Verwayen - now 37-years-old - was released by the club during the off-season prior to Season 20 to make room for a younger starter in an ever-aging midfield line. At the conclusion of his 19-season career in Liga Mundo, he was ranked 2nd overall in career games played for the Springboks with 276. Along with his 50 goals, he had 48 assists to his name which placed him 5th in career points scored with 98.
JUNE 30, 2014 - Boks sign veteran Woodward
Springboks manager Detlef Botha made a rare foray into the transfer market for a veteran player today when he signed 29-year-old midfielder Tommy Woodward to help fortify for the upcoming return to the Primera Liga.
As Manager Detlef explained: "This club very rarely brings in players over 18. We have a strong ethic of building from below - but with the return to Primera ball, we needed to do something in the short-term to strengthen our elderly starting midfield line. Sadly I had to make the hard decision to release Mark Verwayen, one of my closest former-teamates and a true fan-favourite legend at Loftus Versfeld. With Van Buyten now consigned to the resreves and Hörtnagl retiring at the end of this season, our up-and-coming replacements such as Van Uys and Van der Merwe will need some veteran help as they are probably 2 seasons away from being starters - even though both are going to be forced into that role this season."
Season 21 LM Segunda LigaEdit
NOVEMBER 28, 2014 - Van Buyten to make history on Thursday
Springbok legend Stien van Buyten will make Liga Mundo history on Thursday when he steps on to the field. Manager Bartnel Botha has written in the 39-year-old veteran, who saw limited playing time last season as a substitute, as one of the starting midfielders for Die Bokke against Plymouth City FC. Van Buyten will become not only the last remaining active player to have played in Season 1 of Liga Mundo, but also the oldest outfield player to have played in a game. He will also hold the record for most seasons played (21) in Liga Mundo.
“It’s common knowledge within the organisation and with Stien, that he will see only very limited appearances in this, his final season – but I wanted to get the record-breaking shadows off his back as soon as possible,” commented Manager Botha.
Stien van Buyten joined the Transvaal Springboks as the club’s first junior prospect player just two days after the formation of Liga Mundo (and the team) and should reach the seven-year milestone in January, an incredible feat for any player in any league.
NOVEMBER 20, 2014 - Transvaal's "other team" makes debut
Three seasons ago during Season 18, venerable Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria witnessed the unique experiment of hosting two Liga Mundo clubs when Dynamo Dorpat relocated on a temporary ground-share basis due to the calamitous effects of the Disorder War in the Northern Reich. Actually, there were three clubs operating out of the confines of the stadium at that time - as Dorpat’s Nordreich Liga team also called Loftus Versfeld their home.
Footballing fans in Pretoria back then had the luxury of three to four games per week as the Liga Mundo and Nordreich Liga schedules played out – on occasion creating some rather unusual incidents, such as when the “home side” Dynamo played “host” to the “visiting” Transvaal Springboks, or when the Dorpat Lions hosted the Kaapstad Hornets, Transvaal’s entry in the Nordreich Liga.
It seems that, with Season 21 now upon us, ground-sharing has once again returned to Loftus Versfeld as the nomadic wooden spoon club of Liga Mundo have arranged a deal made directly with the stadium authorities for relocation while the primary tenants, the Springboks, are viewing the arrival of the Transvaal Bothas with cold indifference.
“I suppose it gives the diehard and curious fans some exposure to Tercera Liga ball,” commented Springboks manager Detlef Botha. “...but unlike the Dorpat ground-share, which had our full blessing, it is the opinion of many in the club and in the supporters club that the Bothas will make a mockery of the game in this city and country.”
A mockery perhaps, but that still didn’t stop 283 curious souls from showing up in the cavernous 52,000 seat stadium to witness Liga Mundo’s newest club, SC Jeniçer Tirana, from putting the boots to the home side as the Transvaal Bothas were routed 7-0.
Said one observer in the stands, “at least it gives us the chance to see teams we never see except in friendlies or the occasional cup draw.”
“Excuse me, you mean this isn’t the Springboks-Plymouth game?” commented another fan, when asked for their opinion as they waited in line for tickets.
“I was wondering why tickets were going for a tenth of the price.”
DECEMBER 30, 2014 - Liga Mundo legend hangs up his cleats
Stien van Buyten, the oldest active outfield player ever in Liga Mundo, today announced his early retirement from the game after 21 seasons with the Transvaal Springboks. He wore #20 and gained fame for being the midfield general for Die Bokke.
He was the club's first-ever junior prospect, promoted to the senior team just 2 days after the club was founded in Liga Mundo. His best seasons came during the championship run in Season 5 when he gained prominence as an instrumental playmaker on the midfield line and in Season 13 when he scored 7 goals and 7 assists to finish 3rd in scoring in the Primera Liga – earning his only appearance on the all-star team.
He gained legendary status after playing his 100th match on June 17, 2010. Van Buyten played in his 200th match on June 18, 2012 during the first-leg semi-final match in Copa Cato VII versus Syracuse Salty Dogs.
He scored his 100th career point - becoming the 3rd Springbok to reach that mark - on April 1, 2013 when he scored a goal during Transvaal's 4-1 defeat of Debate Land Orators in the first round of Copa Del Mar V. Van Buyten scored his 50th career goal in Season 18 on October 24, 2013 during a 3-3 draw at Skagafjörður Nords AFC.
In Season 19 with age catching up with him, the 37-year-old Van Buyten was moved to the reserves. He played in his 300th match during Season 19 on May 22, 2014, helping lead the team to a close 4-3 victory over Debate Land Orators - his playmaking ability during the contest resulting in him scoring the first goal of the match.
On November 20, 2014, Van Buyten became - at age 39 - the oldest outfield player ever to appear in a Liga Mundo match when he started for the Springboks in their Season 21 opener versus Plymouth City FC. He was also the last remaining active player in Liga Mundo from Season 1 as well as holding the record for most seasons in Liga Mundo with 21 campaigns to his name.
After appearing in 4 matches during his 21st and final campaign, Stien Van Buyten decided to take an early retirement and hung up his cleats on December 30, 2014 – two weeks short of seven years in Liga Mundo. His last game took place at Loftus Versfeld on Christmas Day of 2014 when he entered the game as a substitute in the Springboks’ win over The Fighting Sherms.
He departed from the game as the club’s career leader for games played (313) and assists (78) and in second-place for career points (131).
DECEMBER 30, 2014 - Die Bokke make Estonian signing
Seeking to inject some new blood into the Transvaal Springboks, Manager Detlef Botha made a bold move tonight by signing 17-year-old Taavo Pikksalu out of the Dorpat junior ranks.
Explained by Manager Botha: “During the team’s last visit to Dorpat during our pre-season friendly, I spent some time there scouting possible signings that may not end up graduate through the ranks of the Dynamo and Lions’ youth programmes. This youngster midfielder by the name of Pikksalu caught our attention with his accurate foot and mature game-sense, so we quietly signed him to a retainer until we could free up a roster spot. With the retirement of Stien van Buyten today, we are now in the position to sign him to a formal offer, in the range of $241,000.”
Season 23 LM Segunda LigaEdit
JULY 5, 2015 - Goalie quits Boks for his own TV show
Goalkeeper Jason King issued a formal request to a stupefied and bewildered manager Detlef Botha this evening for his release from the Transvaal Springboks to pursue his acting career after being signed to a lucrative television contract.
In his new series, named after himself, Jason King will portray a dilettante dandy and author working as part of a team of investigators. In the course of visiting international locations as part of his research, or through being summoned by people needing assistance, King is frequently embroiled in adventure stories featuring glamorous women, exotic locations, menacing villains, political turmoil, espionage intrigue, un-stylish clothes, and really bad hair days.
JULY 10, 2015 - Cetshwayo named new Bokke skipper
Cetshwayo Ngwane was named the fifth captain of Transvaal Springboks today after 34-year-old goalkeeper Manos Torgo voluntarily relinquished his captaincy after six seasons.
The move came as Torgo now anticipates his playing time to begin decreasing over the next few seasons - and Cetshwayo had taken on the role of assistant captain when Torgo has been on the sidelines.
“The team needs a full-time captain, one captain. That is why I spoke with Manager Botha today and suggested that Cetshwayo Ngwane takes my place," stated the Mexican keeper of the Springboks.
Manager Detlef Botha confirmed to worried fans that Torgo was not being shopped around:
“Manos will continue to be our starting goalkeeper. However, with him typically appearing in just half our matches per season, his suggestion to make Cetshwayo our new captain made sense when he approached me with his concern. I then sat down with Arlindo Kaká to get his take, as Arlindo has been on people’s radar for a long while as well when folks talk of future captains. Arlindo agreed that Cetshwayo was the best choice for us right now.”
Arguably the best product of the club's junior programme, the 32-year-old Ngwane became the club's youngest legend at age 23. He is the youngest player to sign with the club and only one of three 16-year-olds to play for the Springboks; his brother Dingiswayo Ngwane, the now-retired superstar fullback who made his name in the Noredreich Liga with Kaapstad Hornets as the greatest defender to play in Transvaal or South Africa, was one of the others. Expert with heading the ball and relaxed on the pitch, Cetshwayo is regarded as the greatest Black African player to ever suit up for Transvaal Springboks.
JULY 28, 2015 - Paul Grünholz sold after 14 seasons
Acquired by the club for $4,466,000 midway through Season 9 after the departure of reserve fullback Cuthbert McGorry, Paul Grünholz was the son of the first Springboks captain and former great, Gert Grünholz.
He spent his first 7 seasons playing on the reserve line until the departures of Leon Hooiber midway through Season 15 when he became a fulltime starter. He played in his 100th match during Season 18 on October 17, 2013. Season 19 got off to a terrible start for Grünholz when he was injured in the season opener and then found himself sidelined for almost four weeks.
At the start of Season 23, at the age of 32, he was placed on transfers by management and sold on July 28, 2015 for $1,200,024.
Despite appearing in 180 career matches – the fourth-most for any fullback in the history of the club – Grünholz was often viewed as a underachieving performer after a slow development and never received the respect due to a player of his ability and length of tenure with the club.
Season 24 LM Segunda LigaEdit
DECEMBER 6, 2015 - Two old rivals to meet after three years
From Season 3 through 6, when Estralla Roja was a mid-table power and the Springboks were still sorting out their first generation of players, these two teams battled it out in the shadows of the Big Three Clubs above them in the table for the table scraps of the Primera Liga.
But since the relegation of Los Rojas, first to the Segunda Liga and then later taking up residence in the lower reaches of the Tercera Liga, the only time these two clubs now ever meet competitively is during cup tournaments.
The last time they met occurred in Season 14, in the first round of Copa Cato VII when Die Bokke barely managed to dispatch a pesky Roja after 1-3 and 2-0 results. Transvaal would go on to the semi-final round before being knocked out by Syracuse Salty Dogs, but despite Estrella Roja being outclassed on paper by the eventual second-place team in the Primera Liga that season, Los Rojas were fired up from the long wait and gave their rivals a real run for their money.
Prior to Copa Cato VII, they then last met in September 2009 during league play in Season 6.
To this very day, Manager Bartnel Botha still maintains his two season tickets at Estadio de Sierra Curon and ticket sales for both matches are expected to sell out fast.
FEBRUARY 5, 2016 - Is 17 lucky number for Manager Detlef?
This weekend, Transvaal Springboks try once again to break the longest league cup championship winless streak in Liga Mundo.
In the club's previous 16 Copa Cato outings, they have never won the league cup championship. Manager Detlef Botha, who wore #17 during his playing days, hopes that their 17th attempt is successful after two previous, losing appearances in the finals.
The Springboks' three brethren from Season 1, VolNation Volunteers, Arcadia FC, and Atlético Luz Del Mar, have all taken home the Copa Cato at least once, if not twice, in trophy's existence since Season 8 - although two of those clubs now operate under new ownership and names. Die Bokke hope to break that streak over the next two weekends.
Season 25 LM Primera LigaEdit
JULY 6, 2016 - Manos Torgo retires after 24 seasons
Manos 'The Hands of Fate' Torgo played 14 seasons in the Vedder League with Windhoek Welwitschia from VL Season 2 (signed on May 15, 2009) until the club folded at the end of VL Season 15. Torgo was ranked 5th in all-time career matches played in the Vedder League by a goalkeeper with 73 games played during regular-season play. His career with Windhoek Welwitschia spanned a total of 95 matches and he was regarded the greatest Transavler goalkeeper by the time Windhoek Welwitschia club ceased operations in July 2013. His strongest efforts came in VL Season 16 when he had an 83% save average. He played a season-high of 14 games in VL Season 13 and was instrumental in leading the club to its second and third league championships.
Manos Torgo came out of retirement on March 2, 2013 when he signed a $8,612,700 contract with the Transvaal Springboks in Liga Mundo.
Heading into Season 17, Torgo was named team captain. During the off-season leading up to Season 19, Clachnacuddin made a transfer offer to acquire him but the Springboks management refused it.
On July 10, 2015, prior to the start of Season 23, Torgo voluntarily relinquished his captaincy to Cetshwayo Ngwane, viewing the fullback great a better person suited for the role. On opening day of Season 24, on December 10, 2015, Torgo played in his 100th career game in Liga Mundo as he shutout the Gopher City Pippas FC with a narrow 1-0 victory.
Manos Torgo played his last match on April 28, 2016 when he entered the game as a substitute for an injured Dave Ashcroft at Dynamo Dorpat and retired at the conclusion of Season 25 after 115 games played over 10 seasons in Liga Mundo.
He retired with 71% save average, 52% penalty save average, and 24 cleansheets. His combined career with Windhoek Welwitschia and Transvaal Springboks saw him make a total of 210 appearances over 24 seasons with 101 X11 team selections to his name.
Season 26 LM Segunda LigaEdit
OCTOBER 6, 2016 - Goodbye Kaká and Kruger
Transvaal Springboks confirmed that retiring veterans Arlindo Kaká and Jakob Kruger have played their last matches and would not be in the line-up next week vs. Ashie Road. As well, Kruger's line-mate Christopher de Beers is believed to be slated for permanent bench duty or outright release heading into next season.
Jakob Kruger may not have drawn as much attention for his play as such Bokkie greats as Charles Brennan or Balthazar Botha, but his longevity has made him the greatest forward player ever to suit up in the green and gold. Just two seasons ago, he had reached the peak of his game but age has quickly caught up to the 37-year-old with sudden, diminished production and playing time.
Arlindo Kaká, a cast-off junior product of the Costa Libertad system from back in the heady days of Atlético Luz Del Mar (known to modern-day fans as Marseille FC), has outlasted all his fellow Costa-Libertadorian compatriots apart from team-mate Lourenço Figueroa and Marseille FC's grand-old man Rolandiñho Boa Monréal.
At first received with derision, dislike, and skepticism by the Afrikaner fanbase (he was immediately nicknamed Kakkie, 'little turd', on his arrival at Loftus Versfeld), Kaká's contributions on the field ultimately reached stratospheric levels with the club and now overshadows all Bokke midfielders, save for Detlef Botha and Stien van Buyten.
Season 30 LM Segunda LigaEdit
MARCH 29, 2018 - Boks not taking foot off the gas
While the Transvaal Springboks clinched the Segunda Liga championship today with three games to spare, Manager Bartnel Botha told the post-game press that Die Bokke aren't taking their foot off the gas quite yet:
"We still need to get some of our youngsters and reserves into games for their development - but as long as we have our winning streak intact, we are gunning now for that record."
The record which Manager Botha speaks of is becoming the first Liga Mundo team to win all their league games in the season. Currently the Springboks are sitting with 15 wins and no losses nor draws during the regular season.
"I never expected we'd string together a 15-game winning streak, itself a league record of sorts, but with the Segunda Liga title in the bag, we now want to challenge ourselves and see if we can achieve something no other team at any level of Liga Mundo has accomplished."
Transvaal now sits in second-place for most wins during a regular season of play, with the former Syracuse Salty Dogs holding the league records of 17 wins and 51 points back in Season 28.
AFC Merry Men have been running away with the Primera Liga lead this season and themselves are in the record book hunt as well, on track for taking the third or second spot for most wins - or even possibly first, if Die Bokke falters in the coming weeks.
APRIL 18, 2018 - Pieter van Uys testimonial match
Manager Bartnel Botha announced today that tomorrow's final match of the season will be the testimonial curtain call for retiring 18-season veteran Pieter van Uys. The 35-year-old, who earlier declared Season 30 would be his last, has officially been written in to head the roster card tomorrow at Loftus Versfeld, as the Springboks attempt to complete and close out their perfect season against Sporting Los Angeles.
Pieter van Uys was an 18-year-old signing for the Springboks in Season 13. A tough, calm and calculating player with a deadly accurate shot, Van Uys spent six seasons with the reserves until he was promoted to the starting team at the beginning of Season 19, replacing the legendary veteran Stien van Buyten.
Paired up with line-mate speedster Marais van der Merwe, the two hardnosed midfielders combined to form one of the toughest, punishing defensive midfield duos ever seen in Liga Mundo with their aggressive transition play in moving the ball up the field to waiting attackers.
Van Uys played in his 100th legendary match during Season 21, on December 11, 2015, scoring a goal in the Springboks 6-0 rout of FC Konkrage - although he did not finish the match as he was sent off late in the game in the 88th minute after picking up his second booking in two minutes. He played in his 200th bicentennial match on January 5, 2017, three games before the end of Season 27. Van Uys scored his 100th career point (the lone goal) during the Springboks' loss at the hands of Nordheim Badgers FC in the second round of the UCFA Champions Cup VII on October 9, 2017.
Never one to slow down, Pieter van Uys continued to shine even in this final season of his, when many other veterans tend to fade away, with one of his best producing campaigns in his extensive career.
Season 31 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
MARCH 29, 2018 - Hugo Schmitt named new Boks skipper
After four seasons, and 1 game into this current campaign, Springboks captain Christiaan van Schalkwyk announced today that effective immediately he was relinquishing his captaincy in favour of 26-year-old midfielder Hugo Schmitt.
The 33-year-old Liga all-star fullback stated that the two previous seasons' worth of injuries had taken a toll on him - and that Schmitt, who had filled in for Van Schalkwyk during his injury rehabilitation, was more than ready now to take over the leadership role on the squad.
"Hugo is probably the best, commanding midfielder we have had since the days of [current manager] Detlef Botha around 20 seasons ago, and by giving him the reigns now, Hugo will be in a position to drive this team forward for probably the next 8 to 10 seasons."
Season 33 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
JANUARY 16, 2019 - Skipper van Schalkwyk retires
After 16 seasons, veteran fullback and former Springboks captain Christiaan van Schalkwyk hung up his cleats for the last time last week.
Van Schalkwyk signed with the club in Season 16 as a free agent for $1,458,300, and blessed with cool wits and a deadly accurate foot on the spot kicks, even at an early age he was identified by many observers to be a potential, future team captain and leader.
After the departure of Paul Grünholz, he was named to the starting fullback line heading into Season 24 and had a breakout campaign as the main spot kicker on set plays.
On March 3, 2016, he came on as a substitute at the 61-minute mark of the Springboks' 7-1 thrashing of Plymouth City FC to make his 100th career appearance.
At the start of Season 27, at the urging of Cetshwayo Ngwane, who had recognised the potential of his fellow younger line-mate, Van Schalkwyk was named the sixth captain of the Springboks.
He made his first appearance on the Segunda Liga All-Star team in Season 26 and followed up next season with a repeat selection to the all-stars. He was named to the All-Liga All-Star teams in three successive seasons from Season 27 to Season 29.
During Seasons 29 and 30, Van Schalkwyk endured through a rough batch of injuries which saw miss couple weeks' worth of games in both seasons. One game into Season 31, Christiaan van Schalkwyk relinquished the captaincy in favour of 26-year-old midfielder Hugo Schmitt.
He retired as an active player at the conclusion of the following season on January 12, 2019, with his career spanning 218 games played over 17 seasons - and departing the club as the highest scoring fullback with 42 goals and 71 points, his high totals mostly as result of his freekick and penalty set-plays.
Season 34 LM1 Primera LigaEdit
MAY 24, 2019 - Van de Merwe retires after 19 seasons
Marais van der Merwe signed with the club during Season 15, on August 25, 2014, for $258,300.
He played in his 100th legendary match during Season 22 in the Springboks' semi-final victory in the second leg at Nordheim Badgers FC on May 25, 2015. Developing as an up and coming playmaker for the team, he was soon respected for his tough, fast physical style and hard wits under pressure.
On March 3, 2016, Van der Merwe bagged an impressive hat-trick (with one assist picked up and a fourth goal disallowed) during a massive personal effort over 25 minutes as the Springboks thrashed Plymouth City FC by a 7-1 scoreline in Season 24. That same season saw him take on the midfield playmaking role on a semi-regular basis and finish with his strongest production at that point of his career with 7 goals and 12 points.
Heading into Season 29, his hard style of tough play made him the active career leader in Liga Mundo for yellow cards and personal bookings. Van der Merwe played in his 200th career match on August 31, 2017, a 4-2 win at home.
In his penultimate season, at age 35, Van der Merwe had a stellar season - one of his best for production on the field - with 5 goals and 7 assists to lead the team in points and finish tied second in the Segunda Liga for both assists and points, and earning his first and only berth on the all-star team.
His continued hard play, playing the game more like a rugby player than footballer, combined with his un-waning field general abilities even in his twilight years, guaranteed him a place in the hearts of homeside fans and he became one of the most popular - or feared - players to take the field in Liga Mundo for the Springboks.
Van der Merwe played in his 268th and final career match on May 16, 2019, a 4-0 victory over Swamplandia Sinners. Marais van der Merwe retired ranked 5th in career appearances for Springboks midfielders and his 86 bookings placed him second overall for yellow cards.
MAY 27, 2019 - After Botha, Another Botha
After seventeen and a half seasons, Springboks manager Detlef Botha has voluntarily stepped down this past weekend. Not needing to look far from where the apple falls, his replacement is his 52-year-old brother Balthazar Botha.
A legend from Transvaal Springboks' first seventeen seasons in Liga Mundo, the elder Botha brother still ranks as the second greatest forward ever to wear the green and gold. In his 206 career matches, he scored 88 goals - third behind line-mate Jakob Kruger and his brother Detlef.
With a recent changing of the guard with the departures of veterans Yamamoto Sugoi, Riaan Strijdom, Mrais van der Merwe, and Dieter Schweissing in the past two seasons, an exhausted Detlef Botha felt his time was done and new blood was needed at the helm of the club.
X11 player merits Edit
- Bertrand Basson - 2nd leading scorer (20 points) in Liga Mundo Season 28 Segunda Liga; 3rd most assists (10 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 28 Segunda Liga
- Joop Boekweg - 3rd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 11 Primera; 3rd most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 15 Primera
- Paul Borlund - 3rd top scorers (12 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 29 Segunda Liga
- Balthazar Botha - 3rd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 15 Primera
- Bismarck Botha, Jnr. - 2nd top scorers (11 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 31 LM1 Primera Liga
- Detlef Botha - 3rd most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera; 2nd most bookings (6 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera; 2nd most points (12 Points) in Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera; 2nd most sending offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera; 1st most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 7 Primera; 1st most sending offs (2 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 7 Primera; 1st most sending offs (3 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 8 Primera; 1st most bookings (8 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 8 Primera; 1st most points (17 points) in Liga Mundo Season 8 Primera; 3rd leading scorers (9 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 8 Primera; 3rd most assists (8 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 8 Primera; 2nd most points (13 points) in Liga Mundo Season 9 Primera; 2nd leading scorer (11 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 9 Primera; 3rd Most sending offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 9 Primera; 2nd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 9 Primera; 1st Most bookings (8 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 10 Primera; 1st most sending offs (3 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 11 Primera; 1st most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 11 Primera; 3rd leading scorers (9 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 12 Primera; 2nd most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 12 Primera; 2nd most points (18 points) in Liga Mundo Season 13 Primera; 1st leading scorers (11 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 13 Primera; 3rd most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 13 Primera; 1st most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 14 Primera; 2nd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 14 Primera; 2nd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 15 Primera; 2nd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 16 Primera
- Theo Botha - 3rd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 35 LM1 Primera Liga
- Charles Brennan - 2nd leading scorer (8 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera; 3rd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera; 2nd leading scorers (7 Goals) in Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera; 2nd most sending-offs (2 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 6 Primera; 3rd most goals (7 Goals) in Liga Mundo Season 7 Primera
- Christopher de Beers - 3rd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda Liga; 3rd most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda Liga
- Horace Elding - 1st most sending-offs (2 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 2 Primera; 1st most bookings (8 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 2 Primera
- Lourenço Figueroa - 1st most points (16 points) in Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda Liga; 3rd most assists (8 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda Liga
- Gert Grünholz - 3rd most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 3 Primera
- Paul Grünholz - 2nd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 18 Primera
- Emmanuel Hörtnagl - 2nd most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 12 Primera
- Arlindo Kaká - 3rd most assists (6 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 14 Primera; 1st most points (15 points) in Liga Mundo Season 17 Segunda; 2nd most assists (8 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 17 Segunda; 3rd leading scorers (7 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 17 Segunda; 1st most assists (10 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 23 Segunda; 3rd most points (15 points) in Liga Mundo Season 23 Segunda
- Jakob Kruger - 3rd leading scorer (9 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 23 Segunda; 3rd leading scorer (8 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 24 Segunda Liga
- Carl Noghot - 3rd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 36 LM1 Primera Liga
- Cetshwayo Ngwane - 2nd most bookings (5 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 14 Primera; 2nd MVP (14 X11) in Liga Mundo Season 23 Segunda
- Naas Pienaar - 3rd most sending offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 14 Primera
- Matthias Rieger - 1st most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera
- Johannes Roussouw - 3rd most assists (6 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga
- Hugo Schmitt - 3rd most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 29 Segunda Liga; 3rd most points (14 points) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga; 3rd leading scorer (10 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga; 3rd most points (13 points) in Liga Mundo Season 33 Segunda Liga; 1st most points (16 points) in Liga Mundo Season 34 Segunda Liga; 2nd most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 34 Segunda Liga
- Dieter Schweissing - 2nd most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 29 Segunda Liga
- Adriaan Spaa - 3rd MVP (10 X11) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga
- Bismarck Steyn - 3rd MVP (11 X11) in Liga Mundo Season 21 Segunda
- Yamamoto Sugoi - 1st most sending offs (1 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 25 Primera Liga; 3rd most bookings (3 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 25 Primera Liga; 2nd top scorers (8 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 26 Segunda Liga; 2nd most points (14 points) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga; 2nd top scorers (12 goals) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga
- Manos Torgo - 2nd MVP (13 X11) in Liga Mundo Season 17 Segunda
- Stien van Buyten - 3rd most bookings (6 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera; 3rd most points (14 points) in Liga Mundo Season 13 Primera
- Ricardo van Deinsen - 2nd most bookings (6 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera
- Bert van der Meer - 2nd most bookings (8 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 1 Primera; 2nd most sending-offs (2 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 2 Primera; 1st most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 3 Primera; 1st most sending offs (3 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 3 Primera; 1st most bookings (8 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 4 Primera; 1st most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 5 Primera; 1st most bookings (7 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 6 Primera
- Marais van der Merwe - 1st most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 20 Primera Liga; 3rd most bookings (3 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 20 Primera Liga; 1st most sending-offs (1 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 24 Segunda Liga; 2nd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 24 Segunda Liga; 1st most bookings (6 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 25 Primera Liga; 3rd most bookings (3 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 26 Segunda Liga; 1st most sending-offs (1 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 32 LM2 Segunda Liga; 1st most bookings (6 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 32 LM2 Segunda Liga; 3rd most assists (7 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 32 LM2 Segunda Liga
- Christiaan van Schalkwyk - 2nd MVP (10 X11) in Liga Mundo Season 29 Segunda Liga
- Pieter van Uys - 1st most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 15 Primera; 1st most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 18 Primera; 2nd most sending-offs (2 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda Liga; 2nd most bookings (4 yellow cards) in Liga Mundo Season 19 Segunda Liga; 1st most sending-offs (2 red cards) in Liga Mundo Season 21 Segunda Liga; 3rd most sending-offs (1 red card) in Liga Mundo Season 24 Segunda Liga; 1st most assists (8 assists) in Liga Mundo Season 30 Segunda Liga
Youngest and oldest playersEdit
- Youngest: (16) Bismarck Botha, Jnr. (forward) is the youngest player ever to play for the club, promoted from the junior team just a few days after his 16th birthday. The Springboks have had a total of six 16-year-olds on the roster during the club's history. Two of them were the Ngwane brothers: Cetshwayo Ngwane (fullback) signed and played with the club as a junior prospect in Liga Mundo Season 7 when he was just 16 years old; his brother Dingsiwayo Ngwane also signed as a 16-year-old prospect and played two seasons before departing the club for eventual super-stardom greatness with NVK Kaapstad Hornets at age 18. Paul Nlend Wome (forward) played 2 games for the club in Liga Mundo Season 4 before being sold on transfers - he later died, believed shot by government forces, during one of Transvaal's brutal civil conflicts.
- Oldest: (39) Stien van Buyten who played with the club since its debut season in Liga Mundo Season 1 until mid-way through Liga Mundo Season 21 when he retired, became the oldest player to play in a match for the club as well as the oldest outfield player ever in Liga Mundo history when he started for the Springboks on November 20, 2014 against Plymouth City FC at the age of 39.
"Zero Heroes" Edit
The following players were signed by the club and placed on the active roster but never participated in a competitive match.
|THE "ZERO HEROES"|
|Merco van der Woude||MF||12-Jan-08||25-Jan-08|
- Liga Mundo
- 1984 Duckies FC (Liga Mundo)
- Arcadia FC (Liga Mundo)
- Estrellapuerto FC
- Estrella Roja (Liga Mundo)
- FC Franzharia (Liga Mundo)
- Gopher City Pippas FC
- Guajolotes (Liga Mundo)
- SiPS (Liga Mundo)
- Voobaha National (Liga Mundo)
- Windhoek Welwitschia (Vedder League / Xpert Zone League)
- Kaapstad Hornets (Nordreich Liga / CN National Soccer League / League of Legends)