2022 Bayhill Premier Cup champions Cape Town Spurs (formerly known as Ajax Cape Town) certainly had their work cut out going into this year’s tournament; the only thing tougher than winning a championship title is holding on to it.
Coach Andrew “Andy” Herman was under no illusions as to what was expected from them, as his side lined up to face eventual winners, newly-crowned Premier Cup champions, Grassy Park United in this year’s cup final, at Athlone Stadium, on Monday.
After digging their way out of the group stages with relative ease, which included a 5-0 victory against Celtic United Academy from Langebaan on the West Coast, in the tournament’s official opening match, the Urban Warriors looked set to uphold a legacy set by their predecessors Ajax, who had won the competition in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2008.
Their 5-1 victory against Amalawus FC from the Northern Cape in the last round of 16, paved the way for a mouth-watering quarter-final clash against Stellenbosch, whom they beat 2-0.
All that stood between them and holding on to the silverware was a very determined-looking Grassy Park outfit, who themselves had been equally impressive throughout the competition.
Trailing 2-0 going into the break, Spurs got one back in the second half.
Despite their best efforts, Spurs could not reduce the deficit any further to allow Grassy Park an historic victory, the first by a fully-fledged community club since Matroosfontein and St John’s in the late 80s and early 90s.
Despite the outcome, Herman, who was named coach of the tournament, had nothing but praise for his young charges’ efforts. Having spent the last three years with the side and assistant to Duncan Crowie at last year’s competition, he has reason to believe that members of this squad have bright futures ahead.
”The pressure can be difficult to handle, but all we did(do) is concentrate on the players and the football they are capable of playing. Almost all of them have come through the junior ranks at CTS. I could tap into what they know and who they are as a team. We only trained together for the last two or three weeks,but the boys showed a lot of unity and character,” he said.
The tournament’s other big winners are:
Player of the Tournament: Luke Baartman – Cape Town Spurs
Top goal scorers: Lyle Daniels – City Kings and Kiyaam Carelse – Hellenic
Bruyns Plate final award winners: Greenwood Athletic
Most promising amateur team: Jomo’s Power
Pat Connolly Mid-Section Final, winners: Bayhill United AFC
Team of the tournament: Grassy Park United