It was a proud moment for Greenwood Athletic chairman Noel Isaacs and his coaching staff when their under-17 side won the fair play team of the tournament award, at the Engen Knockout Challenge, in Parow, at the weekend.
Earlier this year – at the under-19 Premier Cup in Belhar over the Easter Weekend – the Steenberg-based side won the most promising amateur team award.
Winning the fair play award was a big deal for the side, says team manager Mohgseen January.
The Steenberg-based side last took part in the Knockout Challenge six years ago.
Despite losing their two opening matches, against Maties and Ikapa Sporting, they bounced back to a goalless draw against eventual third-place finishers, Glendene United.
They were full of confidence after their match against the Chukker Road-based side and it showed on the field when they beat YSD Macassar Academy 3-1 in the bottom eight quarter-finals.
Greenwood went on to lose their remaining matches against Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association giants Fish Hoek and Atlantic Nacional.
January said the side had done well in the competition and winning the fair play team of the tournament award was an added bonus.
This, he said, was because the team made a statement at the competition after they last played six years ago.
“This was a great competition for my players because it was the first time they have experienced the Knockout Challenge.
“This will inspire them to do better in the Cape District Football Association (CDFA).
“The boys can stick together and fight for each other, which showed in this tournament,” he said.
“The more competitions we play in the better we will get.
“Nerves played a major role in our matches against Maties and Ikapa but after that we got use to the pace of the game.
“I believe they felt a bit intimidated but they started to believe in themselves which showed in our game against Glendene,” he added.
Greenwood’s plan is to now take their form into the CDFA where they are second on the log, three points behind leaders Grassy Park United.
They have played 13 games, won 11 and lost two. The Steenberg side are also still in the running to win the league’s knockout cup.
January said the main goal will be to win those titles and to continue their consistent run of form.
“It won’t be easy to win the league and knockout but anything is possible.
“I believe my players realised, at the Knockout Challenge, that they need to work harder to be among the best in Cape Town.
“We can do it because we have a great team spirit,” he said.
Isaacs concurred, saying he is proud of how their junior sides are performing this year, not only in major junior tournaments such as the Premier Cup and Knockout Challenge but also in the league.
“Credit should go to our coaches for doing such as amazing job.
“I believe just to qualify for a major tournament is an achievement in itself and winning an award is extra special.
“This is also a great motivation for the younger players,” he said.