Hellenic’s through to Coke Cup final

Hellenic’s Jean Topley, right, takes on Rygersdal’s Tyrese Davids during the sides’ under-18 semi-final clash in Mitchell’s Plain at the weekend.

After weeks of hard work, and tough battles from the early rounds of the competition, where hundreds of teams took part, Cape Town City, Hellenic, Vasco da Gama, Shosholoza, Rygersdal and Dynamos eventually emerged as finalists in their different categories.

And, in the under-18 division Hellenic will be up against Cape Town City in battle for top honours.

They booked their spots in the final following 2-1 wins against Ubuntu and Rygersdal respectively.

The finals will be played at Athlone Stadium on Saturday October 16.

For the Milnerton-based Hellenic, even though their coaches do not want to say it out loud, it’s pay-back time as they lost to the same City side in the quarter-finals of the Engen under-18 Knockout Challenge at Langa stadium, a fortnight ago.

Hellenic secured their ticket to that Coke Cup semi-final clash against Rygersday after beating fellow favourites Cape Town Spurs 5-2 on penalties, following a goalless draw, in Dunoon last week.

And, Coach Justin Matthews described the road to the Coke Cup final as a difficult and challenging one. This, he said, was because his side came up against difficult opponents under difficult conditions en route to the final. He’s not exaggerating. There were, of course, casualties along the way, some unexpected.

“Despite those challenges the players showed character and stayed focused,” he said.

They did indeed show character, and found themselves in the semis against an equally talented Rygersdal side, in Mitchell’s Plain at the weekend.

“Rygersdal is a good team, with a good programme. So we knew what we were up against. The game was a tough one but, at the end of the day, we did take our chances. They earned a penalty, which our keeper saved and, in the end, we emerged victorious. I think we controlled and managed the game well,” he said.

DAylin Meyer and Imaahd Khad scored Hellenic’s goals in their semi-final victory against Rygersdal.

Looking ahead to the final against Cape Town City, said the two sides have a long and healthy rivalry.

“The two sides have been involved in interesting encounters. We know them very well and they know us well. One of their coaches, Neven Payne, is our former coach, so they know us too. We actually lost to them in the quarter-finals of the Engen, two weeks ago, so this is going to be an interesting one,” he said.

City, on the other hand, booked their semi-final spot after beating Mandalay’s Ulana Academy 1-0,the same weekend.