Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned Gauteng regional champions of the 2015 Engen Knockout Challenge, edging Bidvest Wits 4-3 on penalties after a nail-biting final at Marks Park on Sunday, 2 August.
The final followed an epic semi-final between Bidvest Wits and defending champions Supersport United. In this match, the Clever Boys edged Matsatsantsa by the incredible score of 16 – 15 to book their spot in the championship match.
Unfortunately for Bidvest Wits, it was a hurdle too far. Despite putting up a dogged performance against Sundowns, they came up just short in another penalty shootout.
“I am excited and I think the boys deserved it. They worked hard,” commented Sundowns Head Coach Godfrey Sapula afterwards. “We also won the inter-regional tournament two weeks ago and our achievement today proves that this was no fluke.”
Played in front of an enthusiastic crowd, the final was a meeting of the best teams in the under-17 tournament as both Wits and Sundowns went through the round robin stage unbeaten to qualify for the knockout stage.
Sapula was deservedly named Coach of the Tournament and walked away with a trophy for his achievement, while the club bagged the winners cheque of R15 000.
Engen Group Sponsorship Manager, Brad Bergh said that there was a definite step up in the standard of the play at this year’s event.
“The quality of football in the Gauteng region improves year-on-year and Engen is honoured to have high-profile clubs participate in the tournament. It was also very pleasing to see a number of talent scouts from across South Africa at the event looking to unearth South Africa’s next big football star. As we celebrate the twelfth edition of this prestigious tournament we would like to thank all the young amateur footballers who have played in the Engen Knockout,” added Bergh.
Sundowns now qualify to do battle for national champions bragging rights at the much anticipated Engen Champ of Champs, which takes place in October. The Engen Champ of Champs features the winning clubs from the 5 regional under-17 tournaments, plus a host club.
“Congratulations to all who participated in the Engen Knockout Challenge. And to the winning team, Sundowns, Engen wishes you the very best at the Engen Champ of Champs,” said Engen General Manager, Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray.
The Engen Knockout Challenge makes its way to the final leg of the series, which takes place in Cape Town from 7 – 9 August 2015 at Vasco Da Gama’s Sports Ground. Don’t miss out on all the action.
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