Despite dropping out in the quarter-finals of this weekend’s Knockout Challenge, Kewtown’s Avendale Athletico still have everything to play for in the under-17 Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association’s Premier League.
Avendale playmaker Vuyile Pongoma, 16, was in fine form on the park scoring two goals and creating a number of chances, as his side went into the quarter-finals of this year’s Engen under-17 Knockout Challenge in Parow, at the weekend.
The Kewtown-based side got their campaign off against eventual champions Old Mutual Academy, playing to a goalless draw.
The side was like a house on fire in their last two group matches, winning 2-0 against debutants Southampton before trashing YSD Maccasar 3-0 to finish second in Group D.
Their only loss of the competition came when they lost 1-0 against Glendene United, in the quarter-finals.
Avendale dominated the game but did not use their opportunities.
They got punished for it as Glendene had two chances in the game with one of them resulting in a goal.
Vuyile said he was delighted with the way he performed but credits his fellow teammates for the good balls he received from them.
“My performance is based on my team because they gave me courage to do well.
“I’m glad to be with this club because they gave me opportunities to prove myself and work on my weaknesses.
“Intelligence and talent can win games but team work can win championships.
“I believe we performed well as a unit because, after the loss against Glendene, we never gave up and played until the end,” he said.
Coach Moritz Kossman said he is proud of his side for the effort they put in throughout the competition.
“My goal ahead of the competition was to make the quarter-finals which we achieved. As the tournament progressed we kept on improving and we became more confident. We ended the tournament on the highest possible note,” he said.
Kossman believes his side played with their hearts as a few of his players were crying after their 1-0 quarter-final defeat to third-placed Glendene.
“Glendene were more physical but we had more possession than them. However, that does not mean anything because it is goals that count. I believe if we scored that goal in the final minutes, things might have been different but we are happy about the performance and the character the players showed,” he said.
Kossman said the way forward for his under-17 side is to continue their good run of form as they are top of the log in the Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association’s Premier League. Avendale played 12 games, won 11 and drew one.
They are also in the quarter-finals of the league’s knockout competition.
“It is important to finish the job that we started.
“All our hard work is paying off and there is a lot of promise in this group because I believe they can match any team in Cape Town.
“If we do gain promotion to the Cape Town Tygerberg Super League we want to make a statement.
“It won’t be easy but we played well against Old Mutual who play in the Super League,” he said.
* In other action: Manenberg’s Jordan Callies had a tall order ahead of them in Group B, alongside hosts Vasco da Gama, Milano United and Atlantic Nacional – and finished at the bottom of the group.
They lost 3-1 to Vasco in their opening match and things only went from bad to worse.
They played Atlantic Nacional in their second game which they lost 4-0; before going down 8-1 to Milano in their final group game. In their bottom-eight playoff games, they lost 3-0 to Fish Hoek and 2-1 for Grassy Park United in their final fixure.