FC Tafelzucht’s under-18 side has taken a step closer to making an appearance at this year’s Bayhill Premier Cup, following a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Northern Suburbs LFA under-18 league winners, Valhalla Park, in their final preliminary match, played at Elsbury Park sports complex, in Matroosfontein, at the weekend.
However, their work is not done as they still have to do the business at the final play-offs against other qualifying teams, in order to secure their first ever spot at the tournament proper in the club’s 10-year history.
As expected, coach John Nell is happy with the victory, saying the boys did well under difficult conditions. Captain Keano Carolus executed a perfect cross from the left with Nizaam Louw tapping the ball into the net 10 minutes into the first half to give his side an early lead.
“The heat played a big role but my boys managed to control the match. Our opponents were very physical and kept possession very well. We had a few chances in the game but didn’t convert them into goals,” Nell said.
Despite dominating the opening stages of the match, their opponents came back strongly in the second half, but Zucht did well to absorb the pressure.
Established in 2013, Tafelzucht’s lime and blue strip has become a familiar sight on sporting fields across the city.
Based on the youngsters’ performance at the weekend and during previous preliminary matches which started in October last year, Nell and co can afford to pat themselves on the back. This is afterall a tournament that covers the length and breadth of the Cape Town soccer landscape, with amateur teams from across the city fighting for one of 14 coveted spots.
The only Cape sides with automatic qualification are the host club, Bayhill United and the city’s two professional outfits, Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC.
With some of the better-fancied squads, including FN Rangers, Ubuntu, Milano United and Hout Bay UFC falling by the wayside at the weekend, Tafelzucht has every reason to believe they can go all the way. The weekend’s final round of prelims involved 50 teams with only one team withdrawing due to an unexpected tragedy in their camp. More than 175 teams actively involved at the start of the prelims with about 86 matches played thus far and a total of 136 games after the final round-robin stage. By all accounts, making it thus far, is a big deal for Tafelzucht and the rest of the qualifying teams.
Already they’ve made an impression in last year’s Coca Cola Amateur Cup, dropping out in the last round of 16 and making it to the quarter-finals of the under-21 Green Smile tournament with a squad that featured most of its current under-18s.
“It’s the club’s 10th anniversary and it would be a great birthday present for the club but we are taking it game by game. We don’t have very talented players but they are working very hard to qualify. We are also looking forward to having our own franchise in the near future in order to give our boys better opportunities to showcase their talents. I know it won’t be easy but we as a club are on the right track and in due time it will come,” Nell said.
It’s more than just soccer at Tafelzucht, says chairman Kenneth “Kenny” Hendricks, one of the club’s founder members.
Tafelzucht is the mother body and we have different sporting codes, including soccer, netball football, as well as cricket and 8-ball pool, which is played more on a social level,” he said.
“The Idea was to give back to our community where we live and create opportunities for our next generation not just thru Sports but Academically as well. At that time, in 2013, nothing happened where sports was concerned due to the violence and gangsterism in the area, he said.