Free State province were crowned SAFA/SAB Under 21 Champions after beating Mpumalanga province 3-1 on penalties during an exciting final played at the Giant Stadium on Saturday.
Free State has now won the tournament for the second time in succession after they won it last year. The teams were locked at 1-1 during regulation time before the referee ordered the teams to go for penalties where Free State proved superior.
Mpumalanga took charge of the first half where they invaded the opposition 18 area and it came as no surprise when they took the lead in the 9th minute through Siphenatha Lagwela, giving Free State keeper Sandile Kinji no chance.
Mpumalanga thought they had a chance to extend the lead in the 35th minute when a Free State defender handled the ball inside the 18 area, but the referee waved play on.
The game went for a recess with Mpumalanga holding firmly to their 1-0 lead.
Free State came back into second half smoking fire and firing in all cylinders.Midfielder Tebogo Mokoena stamped his authority in the middle of the park and was unlucky when his shot hit the post in the 65th minute.
Free State coach Ishmael Mokitlane brought on Tankiso Plaatjie for Lebona Ratutunala in the 70th minute and this move paid dividends when he got the equaliser in the 79th minute.
The game went straight to penalties after the referee blew his final whistle.
Free State scored their penalties thorough Thembelani Sizane, Tello Senyane, and Thabo Maphakisa while Sello Mokhele missed.
Mpumalanga only manged to convert through captain Mthokozisi Madalane