Black Birds Football Club defeated Masithandane FC to win the inaugural Peter Mokaba Youth Tournament, an initiative of the ANC Youth League which took place at the Nyanga Stadium last Sunday.
In a contest that had ebbs and flows from the first whistle, it was Black Birds, who lived up to their reputation of the high pressing and ball playing style.
In the game against their nemesis, the streetwise outfit showed why they had dominated the tournament from the start to end.
In one of the most dramatic finals in the recent history of local football, the Birds refused to let their guards down even when the crowd and poor refereeing marred the match.
Action on the pitch included the most astonishing fouls and even head butts which the ref appeared to have seen, but didn’t intervene.
It took a solitary goal from Bulelani “Ace” Sogomoshe after another had been denied by the refereeing staff.
Nyanga stadium was a sea of colour, filled with jubilant fans, but the mood soon soured when Black Birds scored but was denied what looked like a legitimate goal. But then Ace, came back like lightning to score and put Masithandane out of the running for the top spot.
Masithandane, however showed true character and did not give up without a fight. In the process they got a questionable penalty that they missed by hitting the pole. The miss rejuvenated them and came back now and then to seek at least an equaliser. However, they were too late and the Black Birds side played hard until the end.
As the final whistle blew, Masithandane players went to the floor crying.
After the game, chairman of the Birds, Eric “Ace” Mulungweni and his technical staff led by Msekeli Mvalo were determined that the Peter Mokaba Cup would not be the last.
Ace said: “These boys together with the technical team need to know that what they have achieved is significant. But it does not end here. There is more coming.
“There are young boys who look up to them. So they need to continue with the spirit that they showed. I thank the technical team for assembling such a squad. Winning this is not only our dream, We are dreaming big. We want to play in the highest level of football Mzantsi and that is something that is achievable,” said Ace.
His words were reiterated by coach Mvalo who encouraged his players to always dream big.
“I am happy with my players and their behaviour on the day. But this is just the beginning of things to come. My hope is that people will start to realise where we are heading and what we are trying to build here. We want big things and we are determined to get up to the top. But time will tell. This is not an easy journey, it is long and winding but we want to get to the end of it,” he said,
Ndumiso Mthembu received the Man of the Match Award for his explicit runs and turns.
The tussle for third and fourth position was between KTC and Inkanyamba with Inkanyamba emerging as the victors through spot kicks after a 3-all draw.
Meanwhile earlier in the day, Black Birds under-14 also emerged as the victors of the same cup in their categories after trouncing Everton 2-0 in a mouth watering encounter.