All systems go for Stanturf tourney

Stanturf FC head coach Clifford Abrahams, captain Teejay Van Neel, tournament director Safwaan Arendse and vice captain Wesley Geduld.
Stanturf FC tournament director Safwaan Arendse, with head coach Clifford Abrahams, captain Teejay Van Neel, vice captain Wesley Geduld and execo member Eric Davey

It’s all systems go for Stanturf United FC inaugural senior tournament, at Rocklands sports complex, on Saturday and Sunday November 27 and 28.

Billed as the Tournament of Hope, chairperson Janine Overmeyer said the competition coincides with the club’s 30th year celebration and the aim is to make it an annual event. “It’s the start of great things. We have limited spots available and are calling on clubs to participate so talents can be seen,” she said

Match and registration officer, Eric Davey, the club’s longest serving executive member. has been with the club since its inception 30 years ago when

the now defunct Turf United merged with Stanton United to form the Stanturf we know today. And, he was a teenager when he broke into the senior team ranks.

He said the club, which plays in the Mitchell’s Plain LFA, is very much a family club with a responsibility to the community. “Everyone is welcome here and we are hands-on when it comes to matters that affect the community.”

Looking back at the first 30 years of their existence, he described the Rocklands outfit’s journey as an exciting one with lots of ups and downs.

“With hard work and persistence, we were able to overcome those challenges. The COVID-19 period will go down as one of the toughest, not only for us but for all clubs. For the most part, we couldn’t field all our teams and, which was a setback as most players couldn’t get game time. And, now that we are back to level one, we have to get back into a recruitment drive, to attract more players back into the club.”

Davey said, despite the challenges they have faced along the way, the club has grown into one of the household names in the past 30 years.

When they started out, he said, they only had two senior teams and five junior sides. Now they boast a total of six junior sides (under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18) as well as three senior teams. Davey also speaks proudly of their history, describing it as a rich one where their teams had a lot of success on the field.

“One of our most memorable matches came in the early 2000s when we played against Jamestown in the Coke Cup semi-finals, that game also served as a curtain-raiser to a PSL encounter so the players got a lot of exposure. In fact, during that period, we played in the Coke Cup semis for two years in a row. We also competed in what was called the Shell League, which is now called the SAB League,” he said. Davey said some of the club’s players went on to fly their flag elsewhere.

“Rashied Thorne, for instance, went on to play for Ajax Cape Town. We also had the likes of Ashely Philander, Eugene Majiet… the list is endless.

Head coach Clifford Abrahams said their preparations for the tournament, from the playing perspective, have been running smoothly, and the players were ready for the challenge. He also noted that they were taking the tournament seriously, especially considering that it’s part of their all important 30th anniversary celebrations.

“We’ve been training three times a week and a number of friendly matches in between, so everything has been going well so far. As host we definitely have to go all the way to the final and even win the competition,” he said.

“We want to treat the tournament as a family event where everyone comes in and enjoys the football. Whoever wins it, we have to show appreciation.”

Tournament director Safwaan Arendse, who has been with the club for four years, says they’ve done their homework and are ready to roll. So we have 24 teams taking part, 15 based in Mitchell’s Plain and nine from around Cap Town, including Hanover Park FC, Rygersdal and Atlantis City,” he said.

“Our main challenge was getting sponsors on board as we know Covid has had a negative impact on all businesses. But hopefully we can still get a few businesses to partner with us to create a platform and opportunities for the players.

Entry is R1 500 a club. First prize is valued at R14 000 (R 7000 cash and R7000 worth of kit) and a floating trophy and 25 medals. Second prize is R 3000 and 25 medals, while third prize is R1 500 and 25 medals.

For more information on the tournament and to register call Arendse on 065 632 8141