SuperSport United were crowned the new champions of the Engen Under 17 Knockout Challenge in Gauteng after overcoming Bidvest Wits 4-3 on penalties in the final played on Sunday at Marks Park.
The two teams were tied 1-1 after regulation time in a fast paced final. Wits opened the scoring through the exciting Sizwe Thwala who struck a beautiful half volley just 10 minutes into the game.
SuperSport equalised just moments after half-time with a well struck shot from outside the box by Thabelo Mulaudzi after scrapping up pieces from a corner.
The game was played at a quick pace with some intelligent build ups from the teenagers who were keen on impressing Amajimbos coach Molefe Ntseki who watched from the stands.
Both teams will now proceed to the national finals, the Engen Champs of Champs to be hosted by SuperSport in October.
To reach the final SuperSport downed Mpumalanga Black Aces 4-3 on penalties while Wits also sneaked through 11-10 in a marathon shootout.
SuperSport forward Zama Rambuwane was named Player of the Tournament while he also picked up the best striker award.
Several coaches praised the high standard of the tournament with the winning coach Ricardo Katze upbeat about the future of youngsters in his team.
“The competition here is always very tight because most of the well-equipped PSL academies are in Johannesburg. I am grateful to be coaching such a bunch of talented boys and l see most of these boys going on to play professional football in the next few years,” said Katze.
Godfrey Sapula, the Sundowns coach whose team finished in position eight also had positive words. “This is a tournament that gives exposure to the best Under 17s that we have in the country and helps with talent identification.
“This was a development tournament of high standards. With regards to my team we were crippled by injuries and most teams were out to beat us as defending champions,” said Sapula, who has been in charge of his team for the past four years.
Kaizer Chiefs finished third in the 16 team competition played over three days.
The final leg of the tournament will take place in Cape Town from 1-3 August.