Ubuntu secures Premier Cup spot

Fish Hoek-based Ubuntu Academy qualified for this year’s Bayhill under-19 Premier Cup following a 1-0 win in their final round robin play-off fixture against Nyanga’s Eyethu FC, at the William Herbert sportsground, in Wynberg, on Sunday.

Arguably the biggest youth soccer tournament on the continent, the Premier Cup has established itself as an ideal platform for players to raise their profile and ultimately ply their trade on bigger stages.

Ubuntu’s Saeed Diedericks maintains possession during his side’s 1-0 win against Eyethu, in their final Premier Cup play-off match. Picture: Fuad Esack

However, securing a spot in the finals is no mean feat with more than 200 applications from Western Cape teams to take part in the preliminaries, followed by a four-month journey to get to this point.

Teams from all over the Cape metro campaigned for a spot in Sunday’s round-robin stage but ultimately, only 24 teams qualified for their chance to tackle this final hurdle with 12 teams going through to the 35th edition of the tournament proper, which takes place in Belhar over the Easter weekend.

Ubuntu Academy’s Mlamleli Kokela on the ball in his side’s 1-0 win against Nyanga’s Eyethu FC, on Sunday.Picture: Fuad Esack

“I would personally like to extend my gratitude to all the loyal supporters who have travelled to our play-off venues week after week to support the participating teams and our event,” said tournament director Rayaan Allie.

Ubuntu ‘s Henry Ihebe takes a shot at goal during his side’s match against Eyethu. Picture: Fuad Esack

“We are nothing without our support base, and we acknowledge the impact they have on the players and teams participating. Our goal is to bring the best organised event, uphold a high standard and deliver a premium experience for all who encounter the Bayhill Premier Cup. Each year we strive to do better than the year before,” he said.

Ubuntu Academy’s Saeed Diedericks slips past his marker during his side’s 1-0 win against Eyethu FC. Picture: Fuad Esack

“To the teams and players that have unfortunately not made it this time round, it is not the end of the world. This is football, and sometimes the best talent and preparation comes unstuck for reasons we cannot control,” said Allie

“Players should learn from the experience and strive to do better when they get their next opportunity. Our social media platforms have been abuzz with posts from several clubs and supporters congratulating one another and wishing the opposition well, even after their teams have failed to progress. This is the spirit of football that makes all the hard work behind the scenes worthwhile,“ he said.