Mother City’s premier grassroots football tourney a success

Safa Cape Town president, Bennet Bailey celebrates after Cape Town Spurs were crowned the Kapstadt Cup under-12 champions at Athlone Stadium on Sunday. The City of Cape Town-sponsored Kapstadt Cup took place at five different venues until Sunday, October 31. It featured 10 Cape Town-based teams, a Stellenbosch-based team and two national clubs in six age groups from under-8 to under-16. About 850 youth football players participated in the Kapstadt Cup.

What started off as a fundraising event has grown to become a premier grassroots football tournament in the Western Cape..

The Kapstadt Cup is in its 11th year.

It used to be held at Malta Park in Observatory and this year, in addition to facing the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, their corporate sponsor withdrew its funding.

But the City of Cape Town came to the rescue, offering Athlone Stadium, Green Point Urban Park, Green Point Shared Fields as well as Hartleyvale Stadium and Malta Park football fields.

Recovering from the five-day tournament, FC Kapstadt and tournament president, Zaid Omar, said: “It’s been a difficult phase for us to host this event this year. It is probably the most difficult year ever hosting this event.

“Firstly we were unable to host spectators, of course we relied on gate takings, food sales and so on for fundraising. We had to come up with a plan to make everything possible. Our corporate partner chose not to be involved as a result of no return on investments through corporate advertising, marketing and exposure,” he said.

“We had to come up with a plan that made the event possible. The City of Cape Town is one of the partners that are helping us with the tournament.

“The cricket season and hockey season is still on at Malta Park so the City of Cape Town made Athlone Stadium available for us to make the event possible.

“We also got the Green Point Urban Park available as well as the shared fields next to the stadium. It added some excitement and also all the kids are enjoying it. To play against the best in the world we have to create that platform to be the best in the world,” he said.

Omar said 364 games were played by 25 teams, with over 750 players, from under-8 up until under-16. Teams such as Mamelodi Sundowns and Stellenbosch FC from the Premier Soccer League sent their juniors through. And, Cape Town Spurs, from the National First Division also sent their juniors through to the tournament.

But the big names did not have it easy, with teams such as Greenwood Athletic and Rockafellas from Mitchell’s Plain giving them a run for their money.

“Grassroots football is the most important phase of any athlete. We looked around and found there were not enough quality grassroots football tournaments in the Western Cape and have every intention of making it an international grassroots tournament,” he said.

“We reduced the size of the competition in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. We normally have about a 100 teams from 45 clubs, consisting of 1 300 players.”

Covid restrictions, however, had forced them to reduce numbers.

“We kind of have a socially distanced tournament. At the moment we have about 850 players, 25 teams and 36 clubs,” he said.

Hout Bay United Football Club were crowned the under-8 champions. Greenwood Athletic won the under-9 section. FC Kapstadt won the under-10 division. Cape Town Spurs were victorious in the under-12 division. Mamelodi Sundowns won the under-14 age group and Stellenbosch Football Club won the under-16 section.

“The most important thing for the kids at this level is to enjoy it. There is a certain amount of intensity in terms of wanting to win the tournament but the most important aspect is for them to enjoy, to apply discipline, respect and their training on the field,” said Omar.

MEC for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien welcomed the return of the Kapstadt Cup as one of the Mother City’s premier grassroots football festivals.

“For this administration, investing in developmental sporting events such as the Kapstadt Cup is crucial in ensuring we continue to provide platforms for nurturing the country’s generation of sports stars and for them to have a stage where they develop their talent at an early age,” said Badroodien.

Hout Bay United Football Club were crowned the under-8 champions.
Hosts, FC Kapstadt won the under-10 division.
Greenwood from Steenberg won the under-9 Kapstadt Cup.
Mamelodi Sundowns won the under-14 age group.
Hout Bay United Football Club were crowned the under-8 champions.