Young Brazilians Fly the Mamelodi Sundowns Flag at the Engen Knockout Challenge

The U19 girls displayed class, shoe, shine and piano at the weekend as they were crowned the champions of the Engen Knockout Challenge in a three-day tournament at Markspark in Emmerentia. The young Banyana Ba Style prevailed over the University of Johannesburg in the final, after winning 4-3 on penalties.

Having bowed out of the tournament in the semifinal last year, coach Andisiwe Mgcoyi’s charges were looking to be fully dominant until the very end, of which they were. Finishing the group stages unbeaten, the development girls managed to finish top of group D, all thanks to the 2-1 victory over the Blue Birds Ladies, 2-0 win over the Kempton Park Ladies and the emphatic 8-0 triumph over Randburg AFC.

As a result, they reached the quarterfinals, where they recorded a 7-0 victory against Emmarentia Pirates, to cruise to the semifinals. The semifinals promised a mouthwatering clash as they faced and beat JVW through penalties. The final also went down to the wire and they came out victorious against a tough University of Johannesburg opponent.

Coach Andisiwe hailed her side for the great performances and the camaraderie they displayed throughout the tournament.
“When you are working for a big Club like Mamelodi Sundowns, you always put yourself under pressure, even when it’s unnecessary. The only outcome I wanted from this tournament was to see these girls happy and lifting the trophy as they deserved it. they have worked so hard throughout the tournament, considering that most of their competition play in the Sasol and Hollywoodbets Leagues respectively. This tells me as a coach that there’s so much talent in the development teams at our Club and we need to nurture it,” she stated.

Victory for Banyana Ba Style in the Egen Knockout Challenge has secured them a place in the Engen Champ of Champs later this year.
Meanwhile, the U19 boys were unable to defend their title, after falling short in the final round against Kaizer Chiefs. They however, dominated in group D, finishing on the top after remaining unbeaten, all thanks to the 2-0 win over the Meadowlands Academy, the tight 3-2 victory over Wits University and the goalless draw against TS Galaxy.

A difficult quarterfinal game against Highlands Park saw them win 1-0 and advancing to the semifinals to face Kathorus Hyper Academy, where the winner had to be decided on penalties, which went the Brazilians’ way with a 5-3 victory. The final against Kaizer Chiefs proved to be hard as the results were not in their favour.
Despite not lifting the trophy, coach Surprise Moriri lauded his players for the effort they displayed throughout the tournament. He also believes that the competition will help in the improvement of their skills.

“I think performance wise throughout the tournament, we did fairly well. I know we could have done much better, especially when we got to the knockout rounds. I think in the final we created a couple of chances and we could have scored before Chiefs but unfortunately we missed. By the time we were back in the game, it was too late. Overall, in terms of the development of the players, I think this was a good experience for the players. It will definitely help with their growth and improvement,” he said.

In the girls’ division, Jabulile Mbatha was named Defender of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament, while her teammate, Gugu Mabitsela, was named Striker of the Tournament and the Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament. Coach Andisiwe was named Coach of the Tournament. Meanwhile, in the boys’ division, Gomolemo Kekana was named Midfielder of the Tournament.
The entire Mamelodi Sundowns family congratulates the young boys and girls for their outstanding performances at the Engen Knockout Challenge.

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