Footy is alive and well at Table View Football Club (TVFC) and none epitomise the wealth of talent and winning calibre of their junior ranks quite like their little under-9 tykes, the TVFC Tigers, who have gone back-to-back league winners for the past three years, since first playing together as under-7s.
As they whip around the cordoned off juniors fields at clubs across the city, playing in the Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association’s northern leagues, their commitment and love for the game shines on their faces.
They chatter excitedly and spur each other on. It is an intriguing thing to see in players so young.
Coaches Michael Scott and Clive Meintjies beam as their hard work pays off on the pitch and their continued efforts have seen the team gel to form a cohesive unit of happy little footballers.
They are fathers to two of the players on the field but have adopted each child as their own when it comes to their team and that shows too.
“We just started helping out three years ago and then just never stopped. For us, a good coaching relationship is formed by a combination of teamwork and really having the kids’ interest at heart.
“The spirit, attitude and fight the boys have shown in both their victories and defeats has been the highlight for us in our time as coaches,” said Scott.
“We have had a very successful year, winning our under-9 league and going unbeaten at the Rygersdal junior tournament towards the end of the season.
“Having drawn the group of death, we had two draws in the opening rounds which saw us competing for the plate section. We went on to clinch the plate final there,” he said.
Having been in the coaching game for a few years now, the pair have seen their share of nastiness from the sidelines and they believe the spirit of the game is kept alive through keeping things positive, building their players up and taking the good with the bad.
Of course, building talented players is just as important as being motivational role models and so this has become paramount for their team.
The effect can be seen across the TVFC junior ranks as a number of their sides went on to have some bumper seasons this year.
Their senior men’s first side also clinched their league this year after being relegated last season so the general mood at the club is one of rebirth and that begins from the ground up with their juniors.
“The general feeling at the club at the moment is great across all age groups. As dads and coaches you stick with the team as they move up through the age divisions.
“Having been with the team for three years and since a young age, you can see the skills they have developed and how their camaraderie helps them dig themselves out of difficult situations in a match.
“That attitude assists with their general style of play, with passing and the desire to work collectively in both attack and defence.
“Our strengths are a combination of size, speed and determination. This results in very fast and dominating counter-attacks.
“The boys’ ability to complete accurate passes results in some of the best headers and assists I have seen from any players in their age group.
“One thing we see and hear quite often, which is really shocking, is some of the negativity parents push from the sidelines.
“They feel that they can correct a football match by shouting at their kids but all that that does is affect the mental attitude of the player on the field.
“This has actually worked to our advantage a number of times as our opposition come under that pressure. We believe in positive reinforcement and keeping the boys motivated to hold on to that love for football,” said Scott.