It’s not all gloom for Greenwood hopefuls

Greenwood AFC's Jose Como slips past his Blue Downs Spurs marker York Afrika during their clash at the weekend.

Greenwood Athletic FC’s under-18 side may have bowed out in the round of 128 of this year’s Safa-Cape Town Coca Cola Cup but it’s not all doom as four of their players will now play in the Engen under-17 Knockout Challenge, next month, in Parow. They lost 4-3 on penalties to Blue downs Spurs after playing to a 1-all draw.

Greenwood started the brighter of the two sides with striker José Como causing all sorts of problems for the Blue Downs defence. Midway through the first half, José opened the scoring for his side. As the game progressed ,the Malibu Village-based side found their feet and were awarded a penalty but Goodenough Mdluli missed it. Five minutes later Keanan Solomons scored the equaliser, with the score 1-all at the break. The Retreat-based side dominated the second half but did not capitalise on their opportunities. In the end penalties had to decide the outcome and the missed opportunities came back to haunt Greenwood. Coach Salieg Isaacs said despite his side being knocked out, he was happy with the performance.

“I believe we dominated the game but lost a bit of concentration. Blue Downs got one chance and made full of use of it,” he said.

Isaacs said the game was a good eye opener for his players. “We did not expect the game against Blue Downs to be so tight.

“We need to work on our goal scoring opportunities because it is important to your chances. The Coca Cola cup is a different ball game because you only get one chance,” he said.

For four of the team’s members, the journey continues as they now turn their attention to the Knockout Challenge, where they will play for Greenwood’s under-17 side.

The experience they have gained while playing for the under-18 side will come in handy as the side makes a welcome return to the under-17 tournament after an absence of six years.

Greenwood qualified for this year’s tournament after “walking over” Winners Park (who didn’t pitch up) and beating RC Athletico 2-1 in last weekend’s final qualifying matches, in Blue Downs.

Manager Mohgseen January said it was a great achievement to be back in the tournament after so many years.

“Just to make it to the competition is an achievement. I am not going to put pressure on them. They should go out there and enjoy themselves,” he said.

January said preparations for the competition is going well.

“We had a few team-building exercises where we had a braai, played video games and watched movies. I also gave everyone in the squad a chance to speak about what we can improve on,” he said.