The curtain went down on the qualifiers for this year’s Bayhill Premier Cup and Hout Bay United are among the sides that booked their spots at Erica Park, in Belhar, come Easter weekend.
The side had to fight hard in order to make their maiden Premier Cup journey. They were, after all, drawn in the group of death, Group F, alongside former champions Glendene United and Hellenic, as well as an equally impressive Ikapa Sporting.
Despite that, the side were not really underdogs going to the last round of qualifiers. Most of the players in the squad were part of the team that won the Coke Cup competition two years ago.
The group was eventuall won by Hellenic, who collected maximum points after winning three out of three.
Hout Bay, Glendene and Ikapa were tied on three points each. But, thanks to their superior goal difference, the Hout Bay side went through alongside Hellenic.
Hout Bay went down 2-1 against Glendene in the opener. The side however bounced back strongly to beat Ikapa 3-0.
They went on to lose 2-0 against Hellenic but, as it turned out, they did enough to go through.
Ajax Cape Town, who were champions in 2014, found themselves in the play-offs for the first time.
The Parow-based outfit topped Group G with eight points, at the Bayhill Legacy fields scoring a draw in three matches.
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 a one-all draw against Porto before beating Everton 2-1 to book their spots in Belhar.
The tournament will celebrate its 30th anniversary over the Easter weekend this year.
The under-19 showpiece, formally 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 Rockslands sports ground in Mitchell’s Plain before it moved to Erica Park 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 back-to-back titles after they annexed the title in 2016 and 2017.
International teams have been invited to the event, among these English club Swansea City and Zambia’s Zesco United.
Former PSL player who played in the annual event included Matthew Booth, Lance Davids, David Kannemeyer, Bradley August, Nasief Morris and Benni McCarthy.
Cole Alexander said he always dreamt of playing in the competition.
“It was always the tournament I looked out for, whether it was as a spectator or player. Saalman King (previously Graham King) was my community hero when I went to watch 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.
Additional reporting by Keagan Mitchell