CT City, UCT and Diadora Coke Cup champs

UCT crowned Safa Cape Town Coke Cup women’s champions after a 2-1 win over Heideveld Female Football Academy at Athlone Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Conray Swail

The Coke Cup came to its business end in fantastic fashion at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday.

In June last year, Heideveld Female Football Academy (HFFA) presented a five-year plan to Safa Western Cape on how they ought to change their community through sport.

Dubbed as Vision 2025, one of their slides focused on a holistic approach that uses football to groom active and healthy role models that reach greater heights in life.

Their management also mentioned their plan of playing in the Sasol Women’s League as well as winning some of the biggest football tournaments in the province.

On Saturday, Heideveld reached the finals of the prestigious Safa Cape Town Coca-Cola Cup.

Athlone Stadium was filled with spectators from Heideveld and neighbouring communities. Some came from across the railway, in Gugulethu and Nyanga to support the women in red.

Despite their 2-1 loss to UCT in the final, their message stood firm, their fight was against gender-based violence in South Africa — football is the vehicle that brought them together.

Safa Cape Town president, Bennet Bailey said the support from the crowd gave him the confidence that football is in a good space.

“This has been brilliant. Look at the spectators. Look for the first time we are having so many people. This tells you football is in a very good space. Look at the competition, today Heideveld went 2-1 down to UCT a well resourced team. It means the gap that use to be there between the haves-and-have-nots is not so big.

“If you look at the goals scored in the women’s game and in the boys game, it means we are in a good space. It means that Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana will do better,” said Bailey.

Chairperson at Heideveld Female Football Academy, Yushrie Solomons expressed how proud he was of his side’s performance throughout the Coke Cup.

“We gave our best out there. It wasn’t our game today. I give it to UCT. They played some fantastic football and took their chances well. What can I say, goals win games…

“Our community is ridden by gang violence and drugs, so to see them standing here in the stands to support our girls is fantastic. We will try again next year,” said Solomons.

Spotted at the event was football veteran in the province, 67-year-old Richard Africa.

Africa, who once discovered Manchester United’s attacking coach, Benni McCarthy and former Manchester United striker, Quinton Fortune, said the development of football in the province since the early 90s right until now has been tremendous.

Meanwhile, Cape Town City were crowned the under-18 champions following their 3-1 win over arch-rivals Ubuntu Football Academy.

Ubuntu’s head coach, Moritz Kossman said a few mistakes cost them the game, but the future looks good for their talented youngsters.

“I am very proud of our guys, first and foremost. I thought we did very well to stick at it, even at three goals down it is very easy to give up at that moment. But we were able to continue. I think we executed parts of the plan well but made a few mistakes that cost us. It has been a really good tournament for us, I mean it took 256 teams to get to the final, that is a big achievement. I am proud of the guys because there are only two under-18s, the rest are under-16s and under-15s.

Owner of Cape Town City, John Comitis said, in anticipation, he hopes to see some of the young talent make a breakthrough into the senior teams.

“First of all, thank you to Coca-Cola for sponsoring such an event. At the end of the day it is for all these youngsters that trained to play and for us to win it a second time in a row means the guys are doing a great job,” he said.

Coach fantastic, Mangaliso “Shakes” Ntombana said he is grateful to the management of Diadora that called him from Philippi to come and manage a football team in Hanover Park.

Diadora were crowned the senior men’s Coke Cup champions following their 2-0 win over Clover, from Mandalay, in the finals.

The well-travelled Ntombana also led Grassy Park United’s under-18 team to the semi-finals of the Coke Cup.

“The tournament was not easy at all. But we started preparations during the Easter Weekend when we won the Easter tournament in Mandalay. When we started this our aim was just to compete. We saw teams like Rygersdal doing well. I remember this is our first year as Diadora to join the Coke Cup.

“The game was nice, we miss a lot of chances against Clover their goalkeeper saved them a lot. We managed to get two goals and made sure to lower the tempo and manage the game well. Overall we manage to win the tournament and I am grateful to the management,” said Ntombana.