24 July 2017 – The highly anticipated SAB U21 National Championship will kick-off on Tuesday, 25 July with reigning champions, USSA Football hoping to defend the title they won last year.
The tournament will take place at the Nike Centre in Pimville, Soweto, with host province Gauteng getting things under-way with what should be a cracking clash against the Eastern Cape at 09h00.
Gauteng, who were losing semi-finalists last year and Eastern Cape are in Group A with fellow 2016 losing semi-finalists Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.
Group B, which looks very much like a group of death, has last year’s champions USSA, runners up Free State, North West and the Western Cape, as well as KwaZulu-Natal.
Western Cape and North West will kick things off in Group B with a 09h00 kick off, followed by Free State against KwaZulu-Natal at 11h00. At the same time, Mpumalanga will be in a grudge tussle against Limpopo, who played hosts in the previous tournament that saw USSA’s Tyrone Mondi dazzle, winning the Player of the Year award.
Later in the day at 13h30, Gauteng return for their second match of the day against Northern Cape, with Western Cape returning to face USSA at the same time.
The final kick-off of the day will be at 15h30, where Group A sides Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga will be squaring up, while on the other field, USSA and Free State will be dishing out a repeat of last year’s final in what is expected to be a litmus test for the two sides.
Free State will not only be trying to avenge last year’s 2-0 loss in the final, but also out to wrestle the title from USSA. Having made the finals in the last three tournaments, Free State emerged as champions in 2014 in Mafikeng and in Soshanguve two years ago.
When Free State won the 2015 edition in Soshanguve, they were captained by current SuperSport United and Bafana Bafana star midfielder Teboho Mokoena.
The 10 teams will be involved in a grueling and demanding week, where the top four teams in the two logs will play in the semi-finals on Friday.
Saturday will be the teams’ only rest day, before the third-place play-off, as well as the grand finale taking place on Sunday afternoon.
SAB U21 National Championships Fixtures & Programme click here
SAB U21 National Championships Previous Winners
|Season||Champions||Runners-up||Third Place||Fourth Place|
|2008 – 2009||Free State||Northern Cape||Limpopo||Gauteng|
|2009 – 2010||Eastern Cape||North West||Gauteng||Western Cape|
|2010 – 2011||USSA Football||Gauteng||Mpumalanga||Free State|
|2011 – 2012||Gauteng||USSA Football||Mpumalanga||KwaZulu-Natal|
|2012 – 2013||Western Cape||Mpumalanga||KwaZulu-Natal||Limpopo|
|2013 – 2014||Free State||North West||N/A||N/A|
|2014 – 2015||Free State||Mpumalanga||USSA Football||Limpopo|
|2015 – 2016||USSA Football||Free State||Gauteng||Limpopo|