Belhar brace itself for Metropolitan U-20 Premier Cup's 26th edition

THE 26th edition of the Metropolitan U19 Premier Cup launched in style The 2014 edition of the Metropolitan Premier Cup was launched at a colourful function at the Cape Town Civic Centre recently as officials, media and representatives of the participating teams gathered to witness the draw for the first phase of the tournament, which runs from April 16-21at Erica Park in Belhar, on the Cape Flats. Please find attached the final draw for your perusal.

The 32 team tournament that pits the best qualifiers from the Western Cape against some of the top academy and professional feeder sides from around the country has established itself as a major draw card on the domestic football calendar, attracting coaches, scouts and various technical experts from as far afield as Europe and the USA.

The 2014 line up is comprised of Super Sport United (2010 champions), Mpumalanga Black Aces (PSL), Senaone Gunners (Gauteng), Kaizer Chiefs (PSL), Bidvest Wits (2003 champions), Mamelodi Sundowns (2009 champions), Berea Albion (Gauteng), School of Excellence (Gauteng), Ethekwini Coastal Academy (KZN), Harmony Sports Academy (Free State), Caledonian Football Club (PE), University of Pretoria (Gauteng), Saints Football Club (PE), Amazulu (KZN), along with local counterparts, Ajax Cape Town (2004, 2005, 2008, 2013 Chmpions), Bayhill United (hosts), Beacon Spurs, Milano United, Morgenster United, Robinvale Spurs, Hellenic, ASD Cape Town, Bishop Lavis, Vasco-da Gama, Old Mutual Academy, Santos Academy, Bellstar United, Bluedowns Spurs, Glendene United, Masidlale and Beau West City. In keeping with a long-standing tradition of inviting foreign guests, the Metropolitan Premier Cup welcomes the gallant Soccer academy from Kenya for the first time.

In addition to a magnificent trophy and individual medals, the champions will receive R35000 in prize money – with the runners up getting R20000 – while the player of the tournament and top goal scorer will bank R3000 and R2000 for their respective accomplishments. Prize money for various other achievements will also be awarded.

This year, celebrates Metropolitan’s 25th year as principal sponsor of the competition, having partnered with Bayhill FC back in 1990, a year after its first staging. Over a quarter of a century, household names such as Benni McCarthy, Nasief Morris, Matthew Booth, Steven Pienaar – to name but a few – and more recently, Thulani Serero, Daine Klate and Ayanda Patosi have gained valuable experience from their participation in the Metropolitan Premier Cup on their way to attaining stardom.

Metropolitan’s brand executive, Belinda Faulkner, explained the company’s motivation for their involvement. “Metropolitan has always held a broader perception of the situation, recognising the longer term benefits of providing the resources to develop young talent with the view to seeing them become the stars of tomorrow, South Africa has a wealth of potential and Metropolitan believes in committing these resources where they are needed most in order to maximise the fulfilment of that potential,” she said.

A hallmark of Metropolitan’s involvement in youth football sponsorship has been to recognise the need to address issues that affect young players off the field, as they encounter some of the challenges of growing into manhood. Consequently, every Metropolitan event contains a Life Skills programme that offers insights to the participants in matters that include HIV/AIDS awareness, financial responsibility, brand value and media skills, as a means to assist them during this transition.

Tournament director, P.J. Williams emphasized the impact of Metropolitan’s involvement in the event. “True to their word, Metropolitan has had a tremendously good effect on the entire community,” he said. “From the food and concession stands to the medics, transport facilitators, security and volunteer marshals, the sense of pride from participating not only in bringing pride to their own community, but in making a positive impression on outside visitors as well. Since 2010, it has been alcohol free and the people have voluntarily adopted the policy without resistance, so it creates a further element of family friendly zone.

“What makes this event so special is that it has established a tradition of appreciation for what it means to everyone involved,” Williams added. “The people pour in year after year to watch the best young players from all over the country giving it everything they have got. The vibe is warm and friendly and in what is now more than a quarter of a century, we have a virtually unblemished record in relation to crowd misbehaviour and poor sportsmanship. It is deeply satisfying to send them home happy and looking forward to coming back next year.”

The 2014 Metropolitan Premier Cup kicks off at Erica Park, Belhar just outside Cape Town, on Wednesday, 16 April when the group phase gets under way. The tournament runs throughout the Easter weekend, with the final being contested at 3pm on

 

April 21.

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