pictures: fuad esack
Everton FC will make their debut at this year’s event, despite going down 2-1 in their final play-off match against Ajax Cape Town.
Everton join PPG Langa, and fellow newcomers Mandalay’s Ulana Academy at this year’s showpiece.
Other Cape Town sides that qualified are Grassy Park United, Greenwood Athletic, Milano United, Black Birds, D&G Orient, Nova Nacional, Blue Downs Spurs, Silver Spurs, Hellenic, Hout Bay United and Ajax Cape Town.
In this weekend’s final round of qualifiers, Everton found themselves in Group G alongside Ajax, Porto and Mitchell’s Plain Clinic of Excellence (MPCE).
The side started their campaign off on a high note after beating FC Porto 1-0 in their opener. They were, however, held to a goalles draw by MPCE before losing to Ajax.
The toughest group, however, had to be Group F, where powerhouses Hellenic, Hout Bay United, Glendene United and Ikapa Sporting battled it out. The group was eventually won by Hellenic who collected maximum points after winning their three matches.
That meant Hout Bay, Glendene and Ikapa had to fight for the second qualifying spot. And there was nothing much that separated the sides as they all finished on three points each.
The goal difference had to decide who would join Hellenic in the tournament proper. It was, in the end, the Hout Bay side that went through.
The tournament will celebrate its 30th anniversary over the Easter weekend this year.
The under-19 showpiece, formally known as the Metropolitan Premier Cup, came into existence in 1989 when Bay City Ramblers hosted the competition for the first two years.
In 1991, Bay City Ramblers and Sparkhill FC combined to form Bayhill.
The inaugural competition took place at the Rocklands sports ground in Mitchell’s Plain before it moved to Erica Park in Belhar.
Matroosfontein FC were the winners while Hellenic and Ajax Cape Town have been crowned champions six times. SuperSport United were the last team to win backto-back titles after they annexed the title in 2016 and 2017.
International teams have been invited to the event, among these English club Swansea City and Zambia’s Zesco United.
The “Bayhill” has been graced by a number of Bafana Bafana and PSL stars such as Rivaldo Coetzee, Ayanda Patosi, Fagrie Lakay, Moeneeb Josephs and Cole Alexander.
Former PSL players who played in the annual event included Matthew Booth, Lance Davids, David Kannemeyer, Bradley August, Nasief Morris and Benni McCarthy.
Alexander said he always dreamt of playing in the competition.
“It was always the tournament I looked out for, whether it was as a spectator or player. Saalman King (previously Graham King) was my community hero when I went to watch the competition. To win the Bayhill with Ajax Cape Town in 2008 was one of my fondest memories. I am grateful to have participated in the competition a few times which set me up for the PSL,” he said.
Morris, who now coaches Ikapa Sporting in the ABC Motsepe League, said his fondest memory was winning the tournament twice with Santos.
“Being player of the tournament in the year 2000 was something special,” he said.
Tournament director PJ Williams said they would like to make this year’s tournament a celebration. “My expectation is for the tournament to take place this year after we did not have one last year due to the drought. We are hoping that the public will come to the party as before, because without them the tournament would not have been where it is today.”
Williams said a highlight was watching McCarthy and Morris play.
“I remember handing over the trophy to Benni when he was named player of the tournament. Nasief, on the other hand, was just as good,” he said.
Additional reporting by Keagan Mitchell.