The third weekend of the PHL 2016 has proven to be the most exciting, with the most goals being scored as well as the most upsets being created. The two teams who were at the bottom of the log came out firing to win all their games. Ultimately, leaving the last semi-final spot between two teams in the last game of the weekend.
The Mapungubwe Mambas played their game of the tournament beating the Maropeng Cavemen 5-2. They managed to secure a bonus point which placed them in 4th position and in a position to qualify for the semi-final.
The Elephants did the unthinkable. They pulled off two unforgettable victories against experienced teams putting them in 4th position and pushing the Mambas down to 5th.
The Elephants will certainly be the team to look out for in the PHL 2016 as they seem to be peaking at the right time. It was, however, a controversial weekend as critical calls were made which changed the outcome of semi-final positions.
The one that stuck out would have been the Elephants tap in goal which was scored right at the hooter. The TMO mentioned they did not have audio so therefore could not change their decision. In my opinion, it was clearly scored after the hooter. If this goal was disallowed then the Mambas would have been through to the semi-finals in place of the Elephants.
The margins are small and the consequences can be massive. It’s a shame really as the Mambas were starting to gel as a team.
Golden Gate Gladiators vs Maropeng Cavemen (Saturday 12h00)
The past encounter between these two teams was an exciting one. It was an equal battle from start to finish and we all expect the same for this Saturday’s fixture. The Gladiators have had a good finish to their pool stages beating the experienced Dragons. They will be heading into the semi-finals with positive feelings in the camp.
By contrast, the Cavemen have ended on a rather scrappy note, losing to both the Mambas and Elephants. They will be looking to bounce back in the semis hoping to secure a spot in the final. We can expect a structured play throughout the field from both teams. It would be tough to say who I would put my money on as both teams have their pros and cons.
Addo Elephants vs Garden Route Gazelles (Saturday 16h00)
The Elephants have ended their pool stages on a high beating both the Cavemen and the Gladiators. This will allow them to go into the semi-final with huge amounts of energy to continue their promising run.
The Gazelles have performed well throughout the competition thus far, they will certainly look to continue building hoping to peak in the final. The Elephants, as we know, rely largely on their counter attack opportunities, the Gazelles will have to limit these opportunities by breaking down play as they see these opportunities arising. If they are able to do this they will have a good chance of coming away with a win. Opportunities will come for both teams, whoever is more clinical will come away with the spot in the final.
The game of the weekend will certainly be between the Gladiators and the Cavemen. In my opinion, and after seeing the completed draft picks, these two should make the finals, only one can make it out of the semi though so it will be a massive positive for the Gladiators if they come away with the victory and then go on to the gold medal at the end of the tournament as well. This will allow them to approach the upcoming World Cup with confidence and drive to deliver a world class performance.