The growth and development of youth football received another boost during the month of December 2018 with the launch of Champion Bottle Store under 17 Cup in Old Stand, Saul Mkhizeville in Mkhondo. This took the number of youth tournaments played in Mkhondo to four (4) forming part of the annual Mkhondo Diski Festival which played from beginning until the end of December 2018. The under 17 tournament featured twelve (12) clubs from Thandanani Development League based at Saul Mkhizeville which began on Monday 24 December 2018 at Domekile Ground, Saul Mkhizeville.
The tournament began with a point system format before entering the knockout in the quarter final stages. Liverpool FC which is one of the best run development teams in the area entered two teams in the competition with a junior and a senior side. The junior side Liverpool Juniors FC played all the way to the finals like a submarine. They defeated Bafana Bafana FC 2-0 in the first quarter final played on Friday 28 December 2018.
In the 2nd quarter final AC Milan won 4-3 on penalties against Black Aces FC after playing a 0-0 draw at regulation time. The senior Liverpool FC side defeated Magic Touch FC 2-0 in the 3rd quarter final. Roman Aces FC booked their place in the semi-final with a 5-4 win on penalties against Argentina FC after playing an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Champion Bottle Store u17 Cup trophy on diplay during the games Sunday 30 December 2018 at Domekile Ground, Saul Mkhizeville
The semi-final and finals played on Sunday 30 December 2018 at Domekile Ground, Saul Mkhizeville. Junior Liverpool FC won 5-2 against AC Milan in the first semi-final to book a place in the final against all odds for the young team. The Liverpool FC senior side faced their strongest rivals in Roman Aces FC. The two clubs are owned by two development league coaches Mr Themba Zwane of Roman Aces FC and Mr David Coka of Liverpool FC who are very passionate about junior football in the area of Saul Mkhizeville. The final before the final produced entertaining football which was enjoyed by the handful of fans in attendance. Three goals were scored but only two were allowed to stand, all scored by Liverpool FC. Roman Aces FC could not keep up with the pressure playing against Liverpool in their backyard. They stopped Liverpool attack in the first half taking the game to 0-0 at half time.
” This will not be the last tournament you will play because we want you to grow up as responsible members of the community. These games are here to stop you from getting bored and engaging in bad things like drugs and alcohol.”
In the 2nd half Liverpool threw everything on Roman Aces helped by the wind blowing towards their opponents goal. They almost opened the score sheet via a well taken free but match referee missed the ball crossing over the line to the frustration of the young free kick taker & player of the tournament Thabo Simelane. They continued piling pressure on their opponents until the defenders slipped-up to allow Liverpool to score their opening goal just after the 2nd half. It took exactly three (3) minutes for Liverpool FC to come knocking again at Roman Aces FC and were allowed to enter the 2nd goal to the delight of their supporters that included their junior team. The ‘final before the final’ match ended 2-0 in favour of Liverpool FC leaving spectators feeling entertained by the future stars.
The third place playoff match also known as the losers final match played between Roman Aces FC and Ac Milan. The match finished 2-1 in favour of Roman Aces FC who took up the third position in the first ever Champion Bottle Store U17 Cup. The Liverpool vs Liverpool final was just a dress rehearsal and a formality with the game finishing 4-3 on penalties to the senior side.
The sponsor of the inaugural Champion Bottle Store u17 Cup Mr Peace Simelane himself a former football player handed over the prizes to the 3rd placed team Roman Aces FC, runners up and champions Liverpool FC. Mr Simelane had some words of encouragement to the kids before handing over the winners’ trophy.
“Thank you for coming to play in this first ever tournament here at Domekile. This will not be the last tournament you will play because we want you to grow up as responsible members of the community. These games are here to stop you from getting bored and engaging in bad things like drugs and alcohol.
Congratulations to all who played,” he said before handing over to the captain Thabo Simelane. The winners received gold medals, a trophy and ground markers for training. The runners up received silver medals and the third place team received bronze medals. Roman Aces FC received bronze medals for finishing in 3rd place and in addition all clubs that reached the quarter finals received training markers each.
The Champion Bottle Store u17 Cup is the second tournament to be sponsored by a local businessman from the same area of Old Stand in Saul Mkhizeville in the same year. In March last year local businessman Mr David DD Hlatshwayo of Mapengepenge Lounge sponsored the Mapengepenge U/15 Cup tournament. The under 15 cup was won by Liverpool FC against their rivals Roman Aces FC on penalties.
“These games are here to stop you from getting bored and engaging in bad things like drugs and alcohol. Congratulations to all who played,”