Second division play-offs a tight affair


Young Bafana coach Ashraf Calvert, 32, from Grassy Park believes his side can make amends in the second leg of the Western Cape Second Division play-offs against Zizwe United at the Lwandle sports ground in Strand on Saturday.

Calvert’s charges will, however, enjoy home ground advantage after going down 0-1 to United on a cold and blustery Sunday afternoon in the first leg at the Nyanga Stadium.

The winner will qualify to contest the national play-offs where a place among the First Division teams is on offer. The First Division is the second tier below the national Premier League in the country. Cape Town Spurs, who is currently on top of the log with 53 points from 27 games, is the only Cape side in the competition.

“We will have to work on our defensive lapses as well as our set-pieces. But overall I’m confident of the second leg,” said Calvert soon after Sunday’s match.

Calvert is one of the rising young coaches in the country who has ambition to coach a team in the top echelons of the country’s Premier League. But for now Zizwe is his next target to get his team to the next level in the South African footballing landscape.

“We must still get over this hurdle and beat Zizwe but the success thus far has largely been down to hard work and dedication,“ said Calvert.

Man on a mission… Young Bafana coach Ashraf Calvert. Picture: Mark Ward

“I have been in coaching for the past 15 years and have obtained my Confederation of African Football (CAF) A licence and a South African Football Association (Safa) A licence. So, all these achievements are part of my ambition to coach in the top league or a national team.

“I’m a coach who thinks long term about development and to develop players from grassroots,” added Calvert.

He has been at Bafana since February this year after being with Clarewood, which also competes in the Western Cape’s Second Division.

Before his sojourn with Clarewood, he was with Vasco Da Gama Ladies, leading them to successfully defend their Sasol League Western Cape title while also adding the Coke Cup to the club’s list of titles under his guidance.

The Vasco franchise has recently been sold to an upcountry consortium. He was also at the helm when Vasco successfully contested the national Hollywood Bets play-off during the 2021 season.

Lucas Sebastian of Zizwe United, left, shakes his marker, Zairon Abrahams of Young Bafana, during the first leg of the Western Cape Second Division play-offs at Nyanga Stadium on Sunday. Picture: Mark Ward