Bayview crowned * -23 champs

Bayview FCs Cwenga Qotyiwe stays ahead of his marker during his sides 1-0 win against Nova Nacional in the final of the Kenpark Arising Stars under-23 tournament.

Pictures: FUade Esack

Striker Austin Faro’s goal in the first half of the final proved to be the difference in the 90-minute battle. As he recalls, he passed three players and the goalkeeper to score that winning goal. “It was magic,” he said.

The Grade 10 pupil at Glendale High School has now been named in the squad that will play a friendly match against National First Division’s Cape Umoya United next month.

Faro says winning the Kenpark under-23 tournament is a great achievement for his team.

“I feel very happy. It wasn’t easy, we had a tough tournament but we played together and we believed in ourselves. I thought I was going to be the top goalscorer but not this time. I’m happy we could go all the way and win it. We had to score in the first half. It was all a team performance,” he says.

Goalkeeper Timothy Johannes helped the team win two penalty shootouts ahead of the finals, but he remains humble, saying the victory was thanks to an overall team performance.

Johannes says winning has become part of the team’s culture since they won the Coke Cup finals last year.

“It was balance in the squad that led us to win. We are all youngsters and most of us are under 21. We are like a family and we always look out for each other no matter who we play against.”

Johannes says their quarter-final game against Grassy Park was the turning point for them in the tournament.

“Technically, Grassy Park United were going to be better than us but we were more hungry and we had more determination. We were hyped after that win.

“Yesterday (Monday) my team even surprised me because we only won one game in the group stages so it was up to us to pick it up in the final game.

“We just pushed ourselves until the last minute. Even the subs gave their extra. We played 110%,” says Johannes.

Head coach Rezaan Jacobs says it was his team’s first season in the competition.

“We went into the tournament to have fun and play football. After our first win in the group stages we told ourselves anything is possible. When we won in the last 16 that is when our mind shifted because we saw it was possible to go all the way to the final,” he says.

Jacobs praised his players, especially Austin Faro who was the only player to make the tournament squad to face Umoya.

“If it were up to me I’d put them all in the squad. He scored in every single game we played including the final against Nova Nacional.

“He scored in the first half and you know how crucial it is to score in the first half of a final.

“That first half was probably our best display in the tournament. The guys rose to the occasion. They wanted to be champions. 90% of them are under-21 players. We’ve been building this team for the past three years,” he says.

Jacobs says he is hopeful for the club’s future.

“The future of Bayview’s football looks very bright. We had a good season in 2018 and topped it with the Coke Cup trophy and we are having a good start to this season as the Kenpark winners. Slowly but surely we are starting to see the results of our development,” he says.

Jacobs says their main objective when they entered the tournament was to give themselves a boost in the Mitchell’s Plain LFA.