The Metropolitan Premier Cup has usually been dominated by the PSL academies in recent years, with likes of Ajax Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United winning the tournament in the last few years. The last non PSL team to win this tournament was Bright Stars in 2007 and since then it has been dominated by PSL academies.
However this season it seemed to be about the underdogs, as Phillipi United battled against the best in the country to win this year’s Metropolitan Premier Cup, beating Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the final. Coming into this tournament they weren’t considered favourites and most people probably wrote them off but as many people know; never underestimate your opponents. The first shock of the tournament came in the group stages as one of the favourites ASD Cape Town failed to qualify for the last 16 and ended up third and eventually had to settle for the plate section. The other big guns such as Ajax Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United failed to make a big impact in the tournament, with Ajax Cape Town and Supersport United losing in the round of 16, while Mamelodi Sundowns went out in the quarter-finals.
However the likes of Orlando Pirates and Santos certainly made their presence felt while all the other PSL academies weren’t performing at their best, this year however it was all about the underdogs who were hungry for success. The likes of Hanover Park and Pretoria University (TUKS) proving that they can play some good football, especially Hanover Park as they beat ASD Cape Town in the group stages to finish above ASD and both TUKS and Hanover Park were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals . There is certainly talent in these two respective teams and some of these youngsters should be playing at a higher level.
Now for the two most exciting teams in the tournament, Johannesburg based Stars of Africa and the Champions Phillipi United. These two teams played a distinguished brand of football and it was only fitting that these two faced each other in the semi-final. Even though it ended 1-0 to Phillipi United, it wasn’t short of action with both sides making good chances throughout the 90 minutes. Stars of Africa certainly made people sit up and take note of them and they weren’t short of talent, the likes of Junaid Sait, Joe-Dee Van Wyk, Simphiwe Mtsweni and top goal scorer of the tournament Brandon Theron.
Phillipi United were unbeaten on route to winning this year’s final and coming into the final Orlando Pirates were considered strong favourites, however Phillipi United put up a brilliant display in front of 7000 fans packed into Erica Park. Credit must be given to Phillipi United’s midfield trio who worked very hard against Pirates physical midfielders and eventually Phillipi got the much deserved goal three minutes before the final whistle and the whole stadium erupted when the final whistle went as Phillipi United were crowned champions.
One player that must be mentioned is Orlando Pirates captain Tshepo Liphoko who was named as Player of the Tournament and deservedly so, he seemed to be on a level above everyone else and is certainly one to look out for in the future.
Once again the Metropolitan Premier Cup has entertained football lovers in Cape Town as it does every season and next year we hope to see more of the talent that South Africa has to offer.
Author: Dwaine Whiting
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