Ubuntu Football Academy secured their maiden Engen Knockout Challenge title at Langa Sports Complex on Sunday after edging Cape Town City on penalties in a tightly contested final.
The match ended 1-1 in regulation time, with the Ubuntu players holding their nerve in the penalty shootout to book their place in the Engen Champ of Champs.
Ubuntu coach Casey Prince hailed his team after they came through the qualifiers to just make the 16-team tournament. “It’s been a long campaign for our players, they came through the qualifiers and making it to the final is indeed an achievement. Last year, when we were knocked-out in the quarter-finals the boys promised that they would surpass that accomplishment.”
Ubuntu will join fellow regional champions Bidvest Wits (Johannesburg), Moroka Hostel (Bloemfontein), AmaZulu (KwaZulu-Natal) and Chippa United (Port Elizabeth) later this year at Engen Champ of Champs in Johannesburg to determine which club claims overall bragging rights for the year.
“The players have done us proud and we are looking forward to representing Cape Town at the Engen Champ of Champs,” added Prince.
Played over three days, the Cape Town leg of the Engen Knockout Challenge (EKOC) produced several firsts, with Wanderers FC hosting their first EKOC, the tournament was staged in a Cape township for the first time, and Cape Town City competed in their first EKOC just seven weeks after putting their squad together.
As is the norm at Engen Knockout Challenge tournaments across the country, a number of football legends were on hand to soak up the action. Spotted at Langa Sports Complex were Peter Fisher, Noel Cousins, Boebie Solomons, Abbubaker Williams, Gareth Ncaca and Benni McCarthy.
Also on hand looking to unearth the superstars of tomorrow were scouts from SuperSport United, Mamelodi Sundowns and Highlands Park, as well as from the Players Club, On-Target Sports and ProSport International. With the high-level of football on offer, they will not have gone home disappointed.
Benni McCarthy, coach of Cape Town City’s PSL team said he was impressed by the football played. “It was of a high quality. We need more tournaments like this, where the best play against the best, it’s imperative for the future of our football. The passing is accurate and there are players with a great first touch.
“Two or three talented players have already caught my eye,” added the former Bafana Bafana striker and Champions League winner.