Juniors gear up for sevens tourney

SHIFAAN RYKLIEF

The grass has been trimmed, the lines drawn and Salt River Blackpool are ready to switch on the floodlights for the second edition of their Super 7s junior tournament, which kicks off on Friday night, April 29.

Battswood, Blue Bells and Santos are a few of the teams from the Cape District Football Association who will play at the Super 7s tournament, at Shelly Road, in Salt River. While Woodlands United and Milano United will represent the Mitchell’s Plain Local Football Association (LFA).

Tournament director, Iqbal Kasker, said they are all set up and ready to go.

The seven-a-side three-day tournament will take place on Friday, Saturday and Monday. Last year’s tournament consisted of under-7, 9 and 11 age group divisions, but changed to under-8, 10 and 12 divisions to be in line with the South African Football Association Cape Town (SAFA-CT).

Last year, Woodlands United beat Meadowridge 2-0 in the under-7 cup final, and their under-9 team made it to the semi-final of the plate section.

This year, they’ve only entered in the under-10 division.

The Woodlands youngsters have had a shaky start to the season after losing their two opening games of the season to Cedar United and Morgenster United respectively.

At the weekend, they came out in search of their first victory and took an early one goal lead against FC Tafelzucht when Kiyaamodien Darries found the back of the net.

FC Tafelzucht pulled one back after the half-time break through an own goal, but Woodlands took the lead for a second time when Nathan Mufumbi slotted home a goal.

While the three points looked certain for the Woodie Boys, a late penalty for FC Tafelzucht saw them level the score at 2-2 to snatch a point.

Woodlands coach, Adiel du Toit, said the club encourages them to participate in the various tournaments in the city so that the players get the opportunity to play against teams from other LFAs.

“We are want our players to enjoy playing at other venues and see how they match up against teams at other LFAs.

“We are excited about the tournament because it had a good atmosphere last year and was well organised.

“The players are motivated and excited about playing in the night game on Friday,” said Du Toit.

Meanwhile, Blackpool assistant coach Igsaan Dalwai said the players are eager to defend their title after they won last year’s under-11 cup sections, when they beat PPG Langa 2-0 on penalties following a goalless draw. Camps Bay claimed the under-9 cup when they beat rivals Meadowridge 5-0.

Dalwai said they have a new team this season because most of the players had moved to other clubs. But, the newly formed team has done well adjusting to each other and can’t wait to get their boots dirty.

“We are very excited going into the tournament, not only because we are the hosts, but we are also the cupholders. We have a fairly new team after most of our players got scouted, so the make-up of this year’s team are players that moved up from under-10.

“The season has gone well, seeing that it’s their first year playing under-12. We entered two teams into the division so that everyone gets a fair chance to play,” said Dalwai.

Former Blackpool players Imaan January and Ebrahim Richards now don the Ajax CT jersey; Imaad Jatiem and Niyaaz Lakay moved to Old Mutual Academy, and Aashiq Kasker now plays at Hellenic FC.

Defender Imaan, 11, from Mountview, who was spotted by Ajax at last year’s edition, and is excited about the prospect of facing his former team.

“I started playing at Blackpool at four years old and was really happy when my father told me that Ajax wants me for a trial. After the tournament, I took part in the Ajax six-month programme and made the final cut.

“I’ve played two games so far this season. We won our first game 13-0 against Chelsea and our 8-0 in our second game against Saxon Rovers,” said Imaan.

The Grade 6 Golden Grove Primary School pupil was also awarded the Player of the Tournament trophy last year.

Apart from the cup and plate winning trophies, there will also be individual awards for the top goal scorer, player of the tournament and goalkeeper of the tournament in each division. And, Kasker said they are ready for kick-off.

“Everything is in place from first aid, to ambulance service and fencing. I think it’s going to be an exciting tournament,” said Kasker.