Picture: Lonwabo Marele
Having said that, however, the side did compete. After bowing out in the group stages, where they were pitted alongside FC Porto, Cape Town City and Khanyounis FC, they had to settle for a place in the mid-section quarter final.
The Premier Cup celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The tournament was cancelled last year because of the drought.
Hout Bay played only two of their scheduled three group-stage matches, as the Palestinian side Khanyounis didn’t arrive on time for the tournament. They ended up losing 1-0 and 2-0 against Porto and Cape Town City respectively.
The going proved to be even tougher in the mid-section, as they went down 4-0 against Milano United. That marked the end of their run in this year’s competition
Meanwhile, Porto, Ulana Academy, Everton FC and Project Playground (PPG) Langa were among the sides that made their mark in this year’s competion.
PPG played their hearts out to a 2-0 win over Athlone-based Silver Spurs to be crowned this year’s plate section winners.
Prior to the finals, FC Porto, from Philippi, dominated Bloemfontein Celtic in an encounter that turned out rather unlucky for Porto, as Celtic scraped through a 1-0 win to seal the deal in the last 16.
Nyanga’s Everton FC made it as far as the plate quarter-finals but were defeated 2-0 by debutants, Nova Nacional.
The youngsters from Mandalay’s Ulana Academy showed a great deal of courage on and off the field throughout the tournament. Despite them bowing out in the group stages, their 4-1 defeat to Supersport will go down as one of the games they will never forget in terms of character displayed, but at the end of the day, the PSL academy was a tad too much for them.
With Ulana Academy’s side averaging at least 17 and 18 years of age, they will be a force to be reckoned with and likely to qualify for next year’s tournament.
Co-founder of the tournament, Roger Clayton said since 1989, it has been the football that brought together the talented youngsters, hard working organisers and the passionate supporters of football.
On Monday, co-founder of the tournament, PJ Williams congratulated all the teams that took part in the competition saying he looks forward to what ought to be another successful endeavor in 2020’s meeting. Six-time champions Ajax Cape Town, on the other hand, went to this year’s tournament with one aim: to reclaim the tournament they last won in 2014.
In fact, the side were back to back winners in 2013 and 2014. This time Ajax had to settle for the mid-section title after bowing out in the championship quarter finals.
They beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in the mid-section final.
In the championship final, which was a battle of Gauteng sides, Highlands Park were crowned champions after beating Mamelodi Sundowns 4-2 on penalties. The sides were tied at 1-all after regulation time.