30 December 2017 -Debutants La-Masia FC are the champions of the 2017 Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge, after beating Senaoane Gunners FC 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after fulltime.
The final took place on Friday, 29 December 2017 at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto, bringing the curtain down on the festive period tournament.
The Westbury-based outfit came from behind to find an equaliser in the second period of the match, which saw them eventually pushing for a win in a lottery of penalty shootouts against the Sowetans.
Bidvest Wits and Bafana Bafana captain Thulani ‘Tyson’ Hlatshwayo, who was gunning for his former amateur side, Gunners, to win this year’s edition, was a bit disappointed that Gunners failed to clinch the title.
“I’m very proud of my former side as they went all the way to reach this stage of the tournament. We all know what can happen in a lottery of penalty shootouts. Years ago, when I used to play here, I missed a penalty in the same situation as well, and so Gunners shouldn’t beat themselves up about the defeat too much. They did very well but luck was not on their side on the day,” said Hlatshwayo.
He added that the standard of football in this amateur tournament is continuing to improve each year.
“There’s a whole lot of positivity going on around football development in Gauteng. Just looking at this year, a team which is not from Soweto, actually went on to win it (as compared to last year). This should tell you that there’s a whole lot of work taking place at ground level in other parts of our country at large as well,” said Hlatshwayo.
“I’ve watched a whole lot of good players here, and my only wish is to see some of them making that step up into playing in the elite league like most of us have.
As champions, La-Masia pocketed the R100 000 winner’s cheque.
In the U17 category, Infinity Sports FC walloped J. Stars FC 7-0 to clinch the title, while Jabu All Stars FC beat Soweto Ladies FC 3-1 to lift the trophy in the ladies section. Both winners walked away with R20 000 price money each.
MATCH DAY 29 – Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge Results
J Stars FC 0 vs. 7 Infinity Sports FC
Jabu All Stars FC 3 vs. 1 Soweto Ladies FC
La-Masia FC 1 vs. 1 Senaoane Gunners FC (La-Masia win 4-3 on penalties)
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(IMAGE – Bidvest Wits Defender -Thulani Hlatshwayo, Thato Matsimela of La Masia, Phil Mogodi,
President of the Soweto Local Football Association and Orlando Pirates Striker – Lyle Foster
with the players of La Masia celebrating during the 2017 Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge Final at Nike Centre, Soweto)
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