Glendene crowned under-18 champs

Glendene United's Justin Alexander, Ndumiso Magwaza, Jordan de Caires, Sinesipho Ntumbukana, Xhantilomza Xelani and Prince Sotashe celebrate their win.

Glendene United claimed their maiden Safa Cape Town under-18 Coke Cup title, beating defending champions Masidlale Academy 1-0 in a tense final at Athlone Stadium at the weekend and pocketing R20 000 prize money in the process.

Coach Michael Kondleka made it clear before the final that their plan was to score as early as possible and force their opponents to chase the game.

In fact, that’s exactly what they did when they beat Hellenic 2-1 in the semis. The Cape District Football Association-affiliated side scored two early goals in the first half, making it difficult for their opponents to come back.

“Our strength is to attack our opponents from out wide and going over the top. The boys executed that very well against Hellenic and, by half-time, we were already 2-0 up,”Kondleka said after that game.

They did the same in the final against Masidlale, opening the scoring early in the first half. The defending champions tried hard but Glendene’s defensive wall, which has been hard to crack throughout the tournament, stood firm. Both sides wanted to win the competition for different reasons.

Two-time champions Masidlale Academy, on the one side, went to the match with the aim of protecting their reputation as one of the kings of this competition, having been in the final for the last three consecutive years.

Coach Zamile Ncanywa has assembled a side that’s capable of beating anyone, especially in cup finals. However, their opponents, Glendene had other ideas. They were desperate to clinch their first title. In fact, Kondleka made it clear that the absence of Ajax Cape Town, who always kick them out of this competition, made them believe this was their realistic opportunity of winning the title. On their, however, way was the hard-running and highly skillful Masi side. And the 1-0 result, in the end, shows just how tight the game was.

Kondleka said they were aware that they were up against a highly tactical side that doesn’t give away possession cheaply. This, he said, prompted them to find ways to stop the Nyanga side from playing their brand of football. “We realised that Masidlale’s strength was that they have the ability to keep and protect the ball well, which meant we had to make sure they don’t get the ball. We did that, scored an early goal and protected our lead. Masi got frustrated as they were unable to play the ball over our defence to their speedy wingers,”he said.

Kondleka said his players understood, even before this year’s competition kicked off, that the mission was to win the trophy, nothing less.

“They showed that they wanted it more than anything as they gave their all at training and went all out. Our intentions were clear in the first game earlier this year when we won with about 14 goals. However, it was not easy as each team we came up against proved to be well prepared,” he said.