The Cape Town leg of the Engen Knockout Challenge (EKOC) 2019 took place from the 26th – 28th July 2019 and was hosted by Wanderers FC of the Langa LFA.
The EKOC is in its 17th year and the Wanderers FC and tournament LOC must be congratulated on hosting an efficient and well-organized event, extinguishing any pre-tournament concerns about the ability to do so.
Results at the end of day 1 were an early indication that the local football landscape is changing as the traditional LFA clubs were no pushovers to the more resourced academy teams.
Wynberg St Johns had a good tournament and was victorious in their first 2 matches against the more fancied Ulana Academy and Cape Town City sides.
The Maitland based FN Rangers also turned a few heads when they held Hellenic to a 1-1 draw and later Cape Umoya to a goalless draw. Against Cape Umoya, Rangers were brave enough to use their defenders to start their attack from the back with solid build-up play and both sides saw missed chances but the encounter was entertaining.
Hanover Park gave a good account of themselves reaching the semi-finals of the competition, eventually bowing out to Cape Town City via a penalty shootout. This was preceded by a win against Everton and a 2-2 draw with Stellenbosch FC on day 1.
A 3-1 win against Jomos Power from Atlantis booked their spot in the quarters where they defeated hosts, Wanderers 1-0 to advance to the semis.
The lanky Hanover Park midfielder Carl Keyster was the stand out player displaying his skills and work rate both in defence and attack.
As usual, many opinions and views are shared at tournaments and it was no different this time. The discussions on day 1 were dominated by the lack of football quality on display. The direct approach seemed to be the chosen tactics by the majority with teams trying to win the 2nd ball whilst others stuck to their style of play.
A confession by one of the coaches who took part in the tournament was that he chose to follow the “long ball” route in his first match but reverted to his team’s passing game in his following game where they won and the players had a more enjoyable experience.
Tournaments in Gauteng are often seen as a step up because they are slightly different to what we normally experience in Cape Town. The Gauteng tournaments often have more teams who enjoy passing the ball and keeping it on the deck.
Appropriate then that the Cape Town winner, Ubuntu, was one of the teams who displayed mostly attractive football and they will be representing the province at the national event.
There might be a difference of opinion with regards to the game plans of coaches but there was an agreement with the attendees that the quality of the players were noticeable. Each match had at least a player from either side who displayed their ability and skill level to impress spectators.
To sum it up, the EKOC 2019 was a success and what’s left to do now is wish Ubuntu Football Academy all the best for the Champs of Champs in Gauteng.
This is how the teams ended.
1. Ubuntu Football
2. Cape Town City
3. Stellenbosch FC
4. Hanover Park FC
6. Ajax Cape Town
7. Bayview FC
8. Wanderers FC
9. Cape Umoya
11. JL Zwane
12. Wynberg St Johns
13. FN Rangers
14. Ulana Academy
16. Jomos Power