Premier Cup squads finalised

Hout Bay United FCs Nazario Adams and Hellenics Logan Brown tussle for possession during their Premier Cup qualifier in Mitchells Plain at the weekend. Hellenic won 2-0.

pictures: fuad esack

Manenberg’s D&G Orient and Silvertown’s Silver Spurs are among the sides that booked their spots at Erica Park, in Belhar, come Easter weekend.

The Manenberg-based side recorded two wins and a scoring draw. Pitted alongside Nova Nacional, Bayview and FC Kapstadt, they started off well, beating Nacional in the opener. They went on to draw 1-1 with Bayview before beating FC Kapstadt 2-0 to book their ticket to Erica Park.

Nacional finished second with six points after winning two and losing one of their three matches.

Slotted in Group E, alongside PPG Langa, Mitchell’s Plain’s Beacon Spurs and Gugulethu’s JL Zwane, Silver Spurs finished second behind Langa. They collected five points after recording a win, a scoring draw and a loss.

Spurs didn’t start off well, as they went down 1-0 against Langa in the opener. The side, however, bounced back strongly to beat JL Zwane by the same scoreline in their second match. Spurs still had a lot of work to do in their last qualifying match. And they did exactly what was required, playing to a 1-all draw against Beacon Spurs. That proved to be enough to see them through.

In other action, favourites Ajax Cape Town and Hellenic also secured their spots. The Parow-based outfit achieved their goal after topping Group G with eight points following two wins and a scoring draw in their three matches.

The Young Urban Warriors joins Grassy Park United, Greenwood Athletic, Milano United, Black Birds, newcomers Nova Nacional, Ulana Academy, Blue Downs Spurs, PPG Langa, Hout Bay United and Crossroads’ Everton FC as Cape Town representatives in this year’s tournament proper.

In this weekend’s round of qualifiers Ajax found themselves in Group G alongside Everton, Porto and Mitchell’s Plain Clinic of Excellence (MPCE).

The side started their campaign off on a high note after beating MPCE 2-0 in their opener. They were, however, held to one-all draw against Porto before beating Everton 2-1 to book their spots in Belhar.

The toughest group, however, had to be Group F, where powerhouses Hellenic, Hout Bay United, Glendene United and Ikapa Sporting battled it out.

The group was eventually won by Hellenic wo collected maximum points after winning their three matches.

ThatmeantHoutBay, Glendene and Ikapa had to fight for the second qualifying spot. And there was nothing much that separated the sides as they all finished on three points each.

The goal difference had to decide who would join Hellenic in the tournament proper. It was, in the end, the Hout Bay side that went through.

The tournament will celebrate its 30th anniversary over the Easter weekend this year.

The under-19 showpiece, previously known as the Metropolitan Premier Cup, came into existence in 1989 when Bay City Ramblers hosted the competition for the first two years. In 1991, Bay City Ramblers and Sparkhill FC combined to form Bayhill.

The inaugural competition took place at the Rocklands sports ground in Mitchell’s Plain before it moved to Erica Park sports ground in Belhar. Matroosfontein FC were the winners while Hellenic and Ajax Cape Town have been crowned champions six times.

SuperSport United were the last team to win backto-back titles after they annexed the title in 2016 and 2017.

Over the years various international teams have taken part in the tournament, commonly known as The Bayhill.

A number of Cape-bred Bafana Bafana and PSL stars such as Rivaldo Coetzee, Ayanda Patosi, Fagrie Lakay, Moeneeb Josephs, Cole Alexander Matthew Booth, David Kannemeyer, Bradley August, Nasief Morris and Benni McCarthy.

Alexander said he always dreamt of playing in the competition.

“To win the Bayhill with Ajax Cape Town in 2008 was one of my fondest memories. I am grateful to have participated in the competition a few times which set me up for the PSL,” he said.

Morris, who now coaches Ikapa Sporting in the ABC Motsepe League, won the tournament twice with Santos. “Being player of the tournament in the year 2000 was something special,” he said.

Tournament director PJ Williams said they would like to make this year’s tournament a celebration.

“My expectation is for the tournament to take place this year after we did not have one last year due to the drought. We are hoping that the public will come to the party as before, because without them the tournament would not have been where it is today,” he said.

Additional reporting by Keagan Mitchell.