Coaches Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Rhoda Mulaudzi and Zanele Nhlapho reflect on lessons gained from Engen tournament

Over the weekend, the young Masandawana boys and girls from our youth development sides showcased their talents at the 21st edition of the Engen Knockout Challenge, which is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious football development tournaments in South Africa.

Despite fielding girls from the U/16, U/17 and U/18 setups to compete as an Under-20 team, the youngsters showcased a dominant performance in Group D. They achieved a resounding 9-0 victory over Bantwana Ladies, followed by a convincing 6-1 win against Panorama and a commanding 7-2 triumph over Norkem Park FC. These impressive results propelled them to the quarterfinals of the tournament, where they faced Blue Birds.

The young Masandawana team emerged victorious in the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win, setting up an enticing and highly anticipated semifinal clash against JVW. However, despite their best efforts, the team narrowly fell short in the penalty shootout, losing 5-4. They also lost on penalties to Tuks in the third-place playoff.

Coach Andisiwe Mgcoyi remains optimistic about the team’s performance and sees great potential for future success.

“We had a very young group of girls who competed in an Under-20 tournament. It is also worth noting that several of our opponents in this tournament fielded players who are currently playing in the Hollywoodbets Super League and SASOL league, while we participate in the promotional league. This circumstance exemplifies how much we have grown as a team. Despite facing more experienced opponents, we displayed our class and demonstrated our ability on the field. Although we did not achieve our objectives in the tournament, we remain optimistic about the growth and development of these talented girls. As coaches, we gained valuable insights and lessons from this tournament, which will contribute to our continuous improvement and better guidance of the players in the future,” Mgcoyi stated.

Coach Rhoda Mulaudzi also praised the bravery of the young girls who defied the odds at the tournament.

“This experience serves as a valuable learning curve for us, as the kids gained the much-needed experience. Within our squad, we have several exceptionally talented players who are destined for success. I am immensely proud of the girls and the dedicated coaches for their outstanding performances. We would also like to express our gratitude to everyone who came to support us during the tournament,” said Mulaudzi.

Coach Zanele Nhlapho highlighted some of the girls who stood out the most for her during the tournament.

“The girls truly impressed me from the first game until the end. One player who stood out was 15-year-old Lungelwa Mabuza, who was named midfielder of the tournament. Kutlwano Maphane displayed solidity in defense, while Matobane Moshugi demonstrated her class in the defensive midfield position. I must also commend Katlego Malebane, Sethabile Kamwande, and Sphesihle Magazi for their remarkable performances and contributions to the team,” Coach Zanele said.

On the lessons gained from the three-day competition, 13-year-old Munashe Mugwara says, “I had a fantastic experience participating in the tournament, as it provided me with valuable opportunities for personal development in areas where I may have had weaknesses. It was inspiring to witness the high level of skill and tactics displayed by some of the teams we faced, which highlighted areas for improvement in my own game.”

14-year-old Katlego Malebane also echoed similar thoughts about the tournament, “One important lesson I learned is that winning every game is not always possible. In every competition, there will be winners and losers, and this tournament experience reinforced that notion for me. It taught me the importance of resilience, learning from losses and using them as motivation to continue growing and striving for success.”

Meanwhile, the Yellow Nation Family was thrown into great jubilation as the young Masandawana boys triumphed over TS Galaxy FC with a thrilling 5-4 victory on penalties, securing the championship title in the boys’ tournament.

Well done to our formidable youngsters.