Glendene crowned under-18 champs

Glendene United celebrate their victory.

After falling off as close as the semi-finals in the past few years Glendene United under-18 side finally booked their spot in the Safa Cape Town Coke Cup final after beating Hellenic 2-1 in the semis at Erica Park, in Belhar, last week.

The match was a highly anticipated one as both sides are known for producing attacking, and entertaining, football. The fans were in for a spectacular and the players, from both sides, didn’t disappoint, playing to a three-goal thriller. But, as it turned out, the two early goals coach Michael Kondleka’s side scored in the first 10 minutes of the match were enough to take the side to the final, as Hellenic could only manage a solitary second half goal. Glendene were, at last, in the Coke Cup final.

Kondleka said their plan was to try kill off the game in the early stages so that their opponents couldn’t recover.

“We told the boys that Hellenic was just a name and the players, on the field, were equal. Our strength is to attack our opponents from out wide and going over the top. The boys executed that very well against Hellenic and, by half-time, we were already 2-0 up. Hellenic tried to fight their way back into the game but it was little too late,” he said.

Glendene have been solid throughout the competition. They booked their place in the semi-final after beating Blue Downs 3-0 in the quarters.

However, Kondleka said he was aware that they will have to double their effort when they come up against two-time, and defending, champions Masidlale Academy in Saturday’s final. He was also quick to note that the journey to the final was tough but they told the players, from the beginning, that this was their chance to win the
tournament.

He said there was a number of reasons why they believed this was their realistic chance of winning the competition.

Most of the players in the current squad were part of the team that lost on penalties against Ajax in the semi-final of this years Engen under-17 Knockout Challenge.

They, surely, want to go all the way this time around. It was also the same Ajax that stood between them and winning the Coke Cup.

“For the past few years, we came really close only to lose to Ajax in the semi-finals.

“Now that Ajax was not part of this year’s competition, we know we can win it,” he said.

“Having said that, however, we are playing against the defending champions. I have watched them play and they are different from other township sides, in terms of their style.

“Instead of playing the ball on the ground, the prefer playing a long ball to their lone striker and then attack the second ball.

“We have to be wary of that. Having said that, I am expecting an exciting match,” he said.