Harmony claim victory

2015-07-08 06:01
CHAMPS: The Harmony Sports Academy celebrate winning the Engen Knockout Challenge at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Sunday. 

Sidwell Guduka

CHAMPS: The Harmony Sports Academy celebrate winning the Engen Knockout Challenge at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Sunday. Photo: Sidwell Guduka

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THE Harmony Sports Academy were crowned champions of the Engen Knockout Challenge when they defeated Brebner High by 2-0 in an entertaining final at Grey College’s Windmill Park in Bloemfontein on Sunday (05/07).

Their goals were netted by Felix Noge and Daniel Letsoara in the second half.

Harmony, who had won all their matches during this year’s edition of the tournament, have proven once again that they are the kings of the Engen Knockout Challenge in the Free State after they had claimed their eighth title in the competition.

The Virginia side got their campaign off to a good start when they defeated Brebner by 2-1 on Friday (03/07). They followed up that win with another 3-1 victory over Navalsig High on the same day, before beating Louis Botha by 3-1 in their last group stage match on Saturday (04/07).

In the knockout stages, Pitso Mokoena’s boys saw off James FC by 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

They went on to beat FC Remember by 2-0 to book themselves a place in the final.

On the other hand, Brebner started the tournament slowly losing to Harmony on Friday, but they collected their first point when they drew 1-1 against Louis Botha in their second match.

Brebner bounced back to their winning ways against Navalsig, beating them by 4-0 on Saturday.

In their next encounter, Brebner faced the Bloemfontein Celtic Colts whom they defeated by 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

The Mangaung side marched to the final after beating Kagisho High by 5-3 on penalties in the semi-final. The match ended with 0-0 after regulation time.

“I am very happy and proud of my boys for winning this tournament once again. Well done to them.

“I’m also happy for myself and the people around me for planning well for this tournament,” Mokoena, Harmony’s coach, told Express.

“I knew it was going to be tough to play against Brebner, Navalsig and Louis Botha. They are all strong sides, but we managed to beat them. I thought we did what we were supposed to do before we came to Bloemfontein.

“Brebner made us sweat for our win in the final. They made things difficult for us. They were water-tight at the back.

“But I told my boys to be patient and the goals would come. I’m excited we did manage to score two goals in the second half eventually,” he said.

Lee Bateman, Brebner’s coach, admitted after the match that his boys were tired in the final after having played six matches in three days.

“It’s been a long journey to get to where we did. I must say that my boys showed a lot of character to get to the final. But Harmony were too strong for us, especially as far as the physical aspect is concerned,” said Bateman.

“I guess my boys showed a lot of respect to Harmony. I thought they were intimidated and the stage was a bit big for them.

“However, I’m proud of the boys for reaching the final after starting off slowly. But they just went from strength to strength as the tournament progressed,” he said.

Ntobeko Mbingeleli, communications and events specialist for Engen, said: “The tournament’s standard was actually raised by a couple of bars from last year. Even the eventual champions didn’t just walk over to the final, they had to sweat blood to beat strong opponents.

“If you look at a team like James FC who finished eighth, they gave the champions a hard run for their money. It shows that the tournament was closer between the champions and the eighth-placed team. That can only augur well for our national teams,” he said.

“In the final, we saw two boys from Harmony who will be representing our u.17 national team in Chile later this year,” he added.

“As Engen were are proud to be lending a hand to the nation to give these boys a bit of experience so that when they go to play in the national teams they have experience under their belt,” concluded Mbingeleli.

INDIVIDUAL award winners:

Referee of the Tournament: Modise Moretsi;

Defender of the Tournament:

Kutlwano Ntholeng (Brebner);

Midfielder of the Tournament: Sipho Mbule (Harmony);

Striker of the Tournament: Vuyo Mantjie (Harmony);

Top-Scorer(s) of the Tournament: Moeketsi Makhele (Cel-tic Colts) and Vuyo Mantjie (Harmony FC) who both scored five goals each;

Goalkeeper of the Tournament:

Ntsane Kabi (Kagisho);

Player of the Tournament:

Sipho Mbule (Harmony);

Coach of the Tournament:

Lee Bateman (Brebner); and

Fairplay Team of the Tournament:

FC Remember

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