The SAFA Transnet School of Excellence won the 2013 edition of the Metropolitan SASFA U-16 Cup in fine style when they beat Benny’s Sports Development Academy 4-0 in an entertaining, if fairly one-sided, Final at the Seshego Sports Complex in Polokwane on Saturday.
Striker, Phakamani Mahlambi, whose exploits earned him both the Player-of-the-Tournament and the Andani Kotana Golden Boot awards, netted a first half hat-trick to set his Gauteng-based team on the way to a convincing victory despite their local opponents enjoying support from the home crowd. Edwine Sekhwama came of the substitutes’ bench to add the fourth in the second period to crown a memorable performance.
In a poignant moment prior to the kick off, the captains of both teams jointly read out a moving tribute to departed former president, Nelson Mandela which was met with warm and appreciative applause from those in the stands.
After the match, a delighted Mahlambi acknowledged the supportive role played by his teammates: “Our coach told us to go out and play with confidence and when I scored the first goal after only a few minutes it was great because it was a real team goal. That settled us nicely and we played with freedom.
“Although I scored three goals, my contribution was the end product of cooperation and team work. Thanks to Metropolitan and SASFA for giving us the opportunity to come here and show how we can play,” he added.
The victorious manager, Keke Setebe, offered praise to all of his players. “The depth of our squad is a huge factor in this success,” he said, “I was able to rotate the players and rest some at crucial times, which allowed us to be fresh and motivated when it really mattered.”
This is the fifth staging of the tournament, which is the culmination of a country-wide qualification process and SASFA President, Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko expressed his appreciation to Metropolitan for supporting their vision of nurturing talent.
“This is definitely the way to go. When you see the tremendous talent on display throughout the week it is clear that if we follow the path of development the future looks bright. We are fortunate to have like-minded partners such as Metropolitan to make it possible for us to achieve these ambitions.”
Events such as this give scope for Metropolitan to exercise its holistic approach to youth development through football at grassroots level.
“Two of the most important things Nelson Mandela believed in were the value of investing in children and the power of sport to unite people. Metropolitan strives to honour his wisdom by combining these ideals in the form of the Metropolitan SASFA U-16 Cup, through which we not only look to provide a platform for them to improve their football skills but, by exposing them to our Life Skills programmes and encouraging local involvement in the organisation of the event, we aim to leave a tangible positive legacy long after the tournament is over,” said Metropolitan brand executive, Belinda Faulkner, “Congratulations to the SAFA Transnet School of Excellence on their deserved success today. Credit must also go to all the teams that participated and gave of their best. In the end there can only be one winner but the efforts of everyone involved has made this tournament the success it has been.”
In addition to Pahamani Mahlambi’s awards, a number of other accolades were handed out at the conclusion of the match. Bokang Ntholeng of HTS Louis Botha in the Fee State took the Goalkeeper-of the-Tournament award, while Justice Matloga won the Best Coach award. Eastern Cape school, Charles Morgan won the Fair Play award.
All in all, the tournament proved to be a resounding success that will live long in the memories of all who were there as both participants and spectators.