An air of joy and sadness was present at the launch of the 6th annual Kenpark United under-23 Arising Stars tournament, in Mitchell’s Plain, last week.
Two people closely associated with Kenpark United’s under-23 Arising Stars tournament since its inception in 2011 will not be present at this year’s three-day showpiece, set to kick off at the Stephen Reagon sports complex, on Friday June 17.
The draw for this year’s event was postponed in May, following the death of patron, Calvin Goliath, owner of a popular pub in Westridge and a key sponsor. Goliath was shot and killed on Thursday May 19 during a robbery.
Also missing this year will be the club’s founder-member, Ricardo “Ricky” Burns who played a prominent part in establishing this tournament.
Burns died after a short illness in 2015, during last year’s edition of the tournament. Both men will be honoured by having two trophies awarded in their memory, says club secretary and tournament administrator, Lyle Johannes.
“We need to honour these gentlemen because they played a huge role in the tournament. Ricky was involved in setting up the tournament and coaching youngsters.
“So, we thought it’s best if the coach of the tournament wins the Ricky Burns trophy. Calvin was always willing to help in any way that he could, so we’ve named the trophy for the player of the tournament in his honour,” Johannes said.
He said the main aim of the tournament had always been to establish a platform for players to showcase their skill.
Johannes said that it’s also an opportunity for players who may have missed out on playing in the under-19 Premier Cup and other competitions, to have another go at winning a major trophy.
“That’s why it is called the Arising Stars. I see this competition growing every year with more and more teams wanting to get involved,” he said.
Meanwhile, three-time championship winners, Glendene United, will hope to continue the form that saw them winning last week’s inaugural under-21 Green Smile Foundation soccer tournament, in Manenberg. They also won last year’s under-19 Premier Cup, beating JL Zwane 1-0.
The two sides met again in the quarter-finals at the Manenberg tournament, with the champions beating the Gugulethu side 3-1 en route to eliminating Rygate and Ikapa Sporting on penalties in the semi-final and final matches.
Coach Deon Cornish said the main aim of taking part in this competition is for his side to enjoy the tournament and take it one game at a time.
“Of course, our aim is to take the competition but we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” he said, adding that the majority of the club’s Premier Cup side and seven players who took part in last weekend’s under-21 tournament in Manenberg, will be playing at the Arising Stars tournament.
Lance Muller, captain of the host club, said he hopes his side will do well and that they will play as a unit.
“Last year we made it to the quarter-finals so now we want to go a step further.
“We are a promising side because we have a lot of youngsters on the team. I believe the whole squad is important even if you’re on the bench,” he said.
The groups as drawn at last week’s launch, are: Group A: Glendene United, Arials, FC Manenberg and Everton United.
Group B: Crystal Palace, Grassy Park United, Bishop Lavis and Morgenster
Group C: Sunningdale City, Ikapa Sporting, Turfhall United and Stanturf
Group D: JL Zwane, Ashley Rovers, Woodlands United and Invincible Cravenby
Group E: Kenpark United, Stephanian Ottery, Masidlale and Beacon Spurs.
Group F: Milano, Trinitarians, RockAFellas and FC G Hotspurs.