Gutsy Old Mutual crowned Challenge Cup champs

Old Mutual players celebrate victory after beating defending champions Ajax Cape Town 1-0 to lift the Engen u-17 Knockout Challenge trophy in Parow at the weekend.

A tremendous team effort saw Old Mutual Academy beating defending champions Ajax Cape Town 1-0 to lift the Engen under-17 Knockout Challenge trophy, in Parow, at the weekend.

Captain Brooklyn Poggenpoel’s no-nonsense defence, coupled with Kyle Carelse and Peter Ketana’s midfield exploits, had Ajax’s highly organised midfield chasing shadows for most of the match.

Whenever Ajax, led by player of the tournament, Sonwabile Mfecane, threatened to penetrate the midfield, Old Mutual’s defensive wall, marshalled by the inspirational Poggenpoel, was in no giving mood.

Playing at left back, Poggenpoel’s reading of opposition attacks was second to none.

He also displayed some impressive distribution ability and was a shoe-in for winning the award for tournament’s best defender.

The Pinelands-based side cruised past the group stages, playing to a goalless draw against Kewtown’s Avendale Athletico, beating YSD Macassar 3-0 and Parkwood’s Southampton 4-0 to book their spot in the quarter-finals.

They beat Maties 4-2 to set up a semi-final date with hosts Vasco da Gama whom they brushed aside 3-0 before overcoming Ajax in the final.

The newly-crowned under-17 Knockout kings beat the defending champs, in a tense final on Sunday, courtesy of a late strike by goal poacher Azhar Abrahams.

They will now play in the national championships against other regional winners in Gauteng, in October.