root - April 9, 2024

David Rossouw

The 35th edition of the Bayhill Premier Cup kicked off on Wednesday 27 March at the Erica Park Sports Grounds in Belhar and ended with the finals at Athlone Stadium on Monday, 1 April.

Five previous cup winners, Cape Town Spurs (MFC, 2022), Mamelodi Sundowns (Dstv PSL, 2009), Highlands Park (2019), Virginia Sports Academy (2006), and Grassy Park (2023) play in the 35 edition.

 The spectators were treated to exciting football from day one to day five over the Easter weekend at the Erica Sport grounds and Athlone Stadium.

The official opening was on Friday between 6:45 and 7:45pm with spectacular fireworks after all 32 teams were introduced to the public by tournament director Rayaan Alie and his team, with the Grassy Park and FN Rangers St Agnes playing to a draw in the official opening match.

After the completion of the group matches, the Safa Cape Town Academy team emerged as one of the group winners but was eliminated in the group of 16 by FC Porto.

In the first Rodger Clayton section quarterfinals, the University of Pretoria faced Highlands Park FC on the A field and lost 5-3 after they drew 0-0.

Cape Town Spurs FC and Young Bafana Academy battled it out on the B field and walked off the field as winners with a 1-0 score against Young Bafana.

In the C-Field, Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns FC called time on each other but had to retire when the Brazilians sent them home in a penalty kick, which they won 6-5. FN Rangers St Agnes defeated FC Porto 2-0 in the last quarter-final at the D-Field.

In the semi-final, Cape Town Spurs and Mamelodi played to a goalless draw, but Spurs won the penalty shootout with 4-2. FN Rangers St Agnes beat Highlands Park 3-1 to book their place against Spurs in the Rodger Clayton final on Monday 1 April at the Athlone Stadium.

In the Bruyns Plate final Bayhill United won back-to-back trophies when they beat Shayamoya Academy 4-3 on penalties, while Young Bafana claimed their first title when they beat FC Porto 3-1 in the Pat Connolly Mid-section final.

In the Rodger Clayton final, FN Rangers St Agnes and Cape Town Spurs faced off to see who would be the Bayhill Premier Cup champion for 2024. With their exciting football, coach Warwick Hector’s Rangers surprised fans with their play in the tournament, but the question that was on everyone’s lips was, will they be able to stop the fast-footed Cape Town Spurs on Athlone stadium?

Spurs first smelled blood when captain Denzel Du Plessis punished Rangers for their foul in the penalty box. 

However, Hector’s team had a chance a minute later when they were awarded a penalty, but an excellent save by Spurs’ goalkeeper kept the ball from the net and leveling the score in the first half. 

Unnecessary mistakes by Rangers allowed Spurs to launch counter-attacks on several occasions, and then Rangers hadn to defend the goal box.

At the start of the second half, Jernairho Brock doubled Spurs’s lead after the break. Then Sergio Fransch closed the gap when his goal put Rangers on the board.

But Jeandre Gaffoor put the game out of Rangers’ reach when he scored Spurs’s third goal. Although they launched attacks, they could not overcome the rock-solid defense of Spurs.

Faiz Adams’ fourth goal just nailed the lid shut on Ranger’s coffin. It took the wind out of their sails as Spurs won their second title in three years after being shocked by Grassy Park United last year.

In winning back the Rodger Clayton trophy, Spurs’ Academy showed why they have one of the best youth structures in the country.

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