Old Mutual Academy qualified for yet another Bayhill under-19 Premier Cup in a spectacular fashion, after they went on to collect maximum points in the last round of qualifiers, held in Mitchell’s Plain a fortnight ago.
The Pinelands-based outfit found themselves in Group E alongside Grassy Park, Beaufort West’s FC Barcelona and FC Manenberg.
Playing an exciting brand of football, Mutual were ruthless in their approach, winning all three matches.
They scored six goals – with an average of two goals a game – without conceding, making them the most successful side in this round of qualifiers.
They made their intentions clear in their first game of the round, beating Barcelona 1-0 on Saturday.
In their second game, they went on to beat Grassy Park 1-0. Then, after that, the Mutual side booked their spot in the Easter Weekend spectacle, leaving no questions unanswered when they beat FC Manenberg 4-0.
The current Old Mutual team has shown, on many occasions, that they can beat anyone at anytime as the brand of football they display is arguably second to none.
After all, the majority of the players in the current team were part of the squad that were crowned 2016 champions of the Engen under-17 Knockout Challenge after beating defending champions, and favourites, Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in the final, at Parow Park.
The Pinelands side went on to represent the province in the Champs of Champs in Gauteng later in the year.
However, their dream of emulating Ajax and become national champions faded when the tournament was called off following the death of Roo Stars player Kabelo Qabatsane, who collapsed during his side’s opening match against Old Mutual.
To their credit, the side’s technical team and the players quickly placed that disappointment behind them and looked at the task ahead, the under-19 Premier Cup.
Having been semi-finalists two years ago, the Pinelands side didn’t really have a good run in last year’s tournament, losing 2-1 to Milano in the last round of 16.
The coach and his technical team will definitely look to fix that come Easter Weekend, as they are aware that the side needs to shake off that “chokers” tag and fulfill their potential. This might just be their year, as the squad they have assembled have proved to be one of the best.
They play an exciting but effective brand of football, with their midfielders creating scoring opportunities for their deadly strikers. They are solid at the back too, with their defence giving very little away.