All hands on deck ahead of quarters

Glendene United goalkeeper Clayton du Plessis in school colours for Tafelsig High.

At the time of going to print, the shot-stopper and his teammates beat Lentegeur High School 3-1 in their last-16 match of the winners’ section – at the 12th edition of the tournament. They played to a 1-1 draw against Spine Road High in their final group game, yesterday morning.

A Grade 11 pupil, Du Plessis has an abundance of goalkeeping experience under his gloves. He stood in goal for Glendene in their inspiring under-19 Premier Cup final, in 2014; and won the high school’s league in that same year.

Tafelsig High were drawn into Group A – alongside Rocklands, Spine Road and Maitland high schools.

Ahead of their last group match, Spine Road High were in the lead with six points after they beat Maitland and Rocklands 2-0 and 1-0, respectively.

Tafelsig trailed Spine Road by two points, followed by Maitland and Rocklands.

“We started off great against Rocklands High in our first game but just couldn’t put the ball into the back of the net and had to settle for the draw,” said Du Plessis.

“Our team found their rhythm in the second game against Maitland. We created even more goal scoring chances in this and got the win in the final minute of the game.

“We knew Spine Road was going to be a tough game because they are very dangerous in front of goal. But, we went into the game confident because we beat them 5-0 in a league game at the start of the season,” he said.

At last year’s competition, Tafelsig fumbled out in the group stage and lost in the semi-final of the Plate section to Cloetesville High – who are also multiple winners of the school’s league trophy.

Du Plessis has his hands full this season. When he is not guarding the goal for his school, then he’s on a mission to help his club, Glendene United achieve their goals for the season.

“I play in the men’s senior team and we are currently third on the log in the Super League, at the Cape District Football Association (CDFA).

“We finished second last season and are currently chasing Greenwood Athletic who are on top. Both our senior and under-18 sides are through to the last-16 of the Coke Cup, so we have one eye on that as well,” said Du Plessis.

“The past two seasons have been really great for me because I’ve been playing my best soccer. Playing in the final of the under-19 Premier Cup and beating JL Zwane 1-0 to lift the trophy has been my biggest achievement so far.

“I was only 16 years old at the time and it was my first time playing in the tournament. That year I also made the SASFA (South African School’s Football Association) Western Cape team and won the regional tournament with them.

“Since then, I feel that I’ve grown a lot and am more confident going into big tournaments,” he said.

* In other last 16 action, Spine Road beat Stellenzicht 3-2 on penalties after playing to a 1-all draw; Portland lost 2-1 against Groenvlei; Cloetesville beat Oval North 1-0, Princeton lost 3-1 on penalties against Westridge after a goalless draw; Muizenberg beat Woodlands 3-0; Robinvale beat Bloekombos 2-1 on penalties after a goalless draw and Mondale beat Cedars 1-0.

* Saturday’s quarter-finals will kick off at 9am, at Westridge High.