Thousands brave the chilly weather to grace the official opening of Metro Premier Cup's official opening

THE weather gods were kind to the 6000 fans packed into Erica Park in Belhar for the
opening ceremony of the 2012 Metropolitan under 19 Premier Cup, and they weren’t
disappointed. In the presence of various dignitaries, including Western Cape MEC for
Safety and Security, Dan Plato and SAFA vice-president, Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko,
Metropolitan Brand Executive, Belinda Faulkner declared the tournament open.

The ceremony commenced with a march-past by each of the 32 competing squads,
followed by exciting performances from a local traditional dance troupe and the
Ashwin Willemse Oriental Marching band, which had the crowd screaming their
appreciation. The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the magnificent
fireworks display that illuminated the Cape Flats sky in spectacular fashion.

“This tournament is an integral date on the South African football calendar,
specifically with regard to bridging the gap between youth and senior level and it
is through initiatives such as Metropolitan’s partnership with Bayhill United that
has seen this event grow into a flagship occasion over the past 24 years,’ said
Mazibuko.

An enthralling occasion was crowned with the main match of the evening in which last
season’s finalists, ASD Cape Town Academy drew 1-1 with Orlando Pirates in a top of
the table Group A clash. Both teams went at each other from the first whistle and
just when it seemed they were going to cancel each other out, Brendan Fernandes
scored a screamer from 25 metres to give ASD the lead with four minutes left on the
clock. However, the young Buccaneers showed their mettle to level matters two
minutes later through Luyanda Mthembu to secure a deserved two points (competition
rules award two points for a score draw).

In matches played earlier in the day, Stars of Africa maintained their 100% record
with a 4-0 win over Morgenster United to go clear at the top of Group B, while host
club Bayhill United went down by a single goal to Tuks, who moved up to second
place, in a thrilling encounter.

Swallows of Port Elizabeth caused a minor, yet well deserved upset with a single
goal victory over their more illustrious namesakes, Moroka Swallows to move to the
summit of Group C. Meanwhile, Group D appears to be a fight for top spot between
Golden Arrows and Cape Town Academy, who beat Berea Albion 1-0, while Arrows came
out 2-1 winners against Platinum Stars.

Mamelodi Sundowns failed to move level with Glendene at the top of Group E after
being held to a 0-0 draw by Harmony Academy, and in Group F, Santos joined Phillippi
United at the top of the table after beating Mpumalanga Black Aces 3-0.

Sundowns’ Tshwane rivals Supersport United had no such problems, despatching the
School of Excellence 2-0 to remain atop Group F, three points ahead of Crusaders
while Ajax Cape Town maintained their impressive start to the campaign with their
second win on the spin, 4-0 against Aces Academy to move within a point of securing
qualification from Group H.

The action continues tomorrow with the completion of the group phase in the
morning followed by the first of the knockout rounds, involving the 16 qualifiers
from their respective groups at 3.30pm.

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