Glendene crowned under-18 champs

Glendene under-18 captain Umar Mohamed following his side's Coke Cup 1-0 win.

An ability to find the back of the net when it matters most, has helped inspirational captain Umar Mohamed to lead Glendene United to victory in this year’s Safa Cape Town under-18 Coke Cup, scoring the winning goal in the final against defending champions Masidlale Academy at Athlone Stadium, at the weekend.

In a tightly contested affair, the youngster from Newlands was able to score the only goal of the match, securing his side their maiden Coke Cup title in the process.

He was, in fact, lethal in front of goal throughout the competition, scoring no less than 10 goals as his side marched to the final.

Mohamed was, however, quick to admit that going all the way to the final, and winning the tournament, took a lot of effort on their side, from the first match up to the final, and the team showed they wanted to win the tournament.

“Scoring the winning goal in the final was great, especially considering the pressure that comes with captaining the side.

“I had to strike a balance between leading the team and my own performance but, luckily, we have a great team, we played for each other and that made each one’s job much easier,” said Mohamed, who plays either upfront or at right wing.

“Yes I was nervous ahead of the game but settled as the match progressed. The goal I scored, early in the first half, also boosted my confidence and I started playing my normal game,”he said.

Mohamed, 18, also noted that they went to the match with one mentality, to attack Masi with pace and try score an early goal. And, that’s what they did, forcing the champions to chase the game.

In fact, that seemed to be their approach throughout the competition, as they used the same tactics in their 2-1 semi-final win against Hellenic, two weeks ago. They scored two goals in the first ten minutes of the match and the Greek Gods never really recovered.

Mohamed, a former Islamia College pupil, is now in his fourth year at Glendene. He says he loves everything about the club. He also noted that his former school Islamia’s sport department played a big role in his development as a player.

The first year education student at UWC has been around since he started kicking the ball with anger as a nine-year-old, nine years ago.

He started off at Rygate, where he was a top goal-scorer in his first season at Rygate before moving to Pinelands-based Old Mutual Academy. He spent four years at Old Mutual, winning player of the year once, before one of Glendene’s coaches Mangaliso “Shakes” Ntombana approached him. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I have learnt a lot in each of the teams I played for, I am still learning from my coaches and teammates at Glendene. “Now that we’ve won the Coke Cup, my eyes are on next year’s Premier Cup. I know, with the team that we have, we can go all the way,” he said.

Ntombana described Mohamed as a complete player with an ability to score crucial goals. He said the youngster, with his positive attitude and approach to the game, has the potential to be one of the top strikers around.

“Umar is that hard-working player who is willing to learn new things. One of his greatest qualities is that he has that ability to score goals from any angle. I am sure he will play for our Vodacom side soon. In fact, I see him playing PSL football in five years time, as long he continues working hard,” said Ntombana.

In other action, veteran Young Pirates striker Royston Lindsay scored his fourth goal in two matches when he netted the winner in his side’s 1-0 victory against Helderberg’s Two For Joy in this year’s men’s senior Coke Cup final.

In the women’s division, UWC beat reigning champions, RV United, 1-0 to lift the trophy.