South Africa’s longest running youth development league’s 2023 competitions came to an end at Marks Park in Emmarentia, Johannesburg, on Sunday, with Kaizer Chiefs and Rosina Sedibane Modiba Sports School claiming silverware.
Chiefs asserted their supremacy by collecting three of the four trophies on offer in the Gauteng Development League (GDL) Youth Cup. With Kaizer Motaung junior in attendance, the club’s former player and current sporting director, the Kaizer Chiefs u13, u17, and u19 sides all won to make it a banner day for the organisation.
U19 Final Kaizer Chiefs vs NWU Vaal
Chiefs proved too much for a plucky NWU Vaal outfit in the u19 final as they thumped the newly promoted side, which had been on a giant-killing run, 4-1, to lift the title.
NWU Vaal had sent league runners-up Mamelodi Sundowns packing in the semi-finals, but in the final, Chiefs, who finished third in the league, charged to a one-sided victory.
The Amakhosi dominated the game and took the lead through their freekick specialist, Duane Bennet, who slotted a spectacular goal from a set piece to put his side on the front foot. He was subsequently joined on the scoresheet by Phakamani Jwara, Manqoba Ozoemena, and Mfundo Vilakazi.
U15 Final: Tshwane Derby
Perhaps the biggest story of the day came in the only final that did not involve Kaizer Chiefs, with Rosina Sedibane Modiba and Mamelodi Sundowns meeting in an all-Pretoria clash for the u15 title. It finished in a penalty shootout, with Rosina triumphing over the Brazilians.
It was a trying weekend for Sundowns. Their u13s also lost against the Amakhosi in the gold medal match, going down 2-3, while their u19 side was ousted in the semi-finals by NWU Vaal on Saturday.
The u15 finalists produced an entertaining title-decider, but the game started slowly as both teams worked to get into the flow of the game. Rosina took an early lead when Sundowns stopped playing, mistakenly thinking they had heard a whistle. It hadn’t been blown and Rosina took advantage of ‘Downs’ hesitation by slotting the ball into the back of the net. The decision to award the goal infuriated the Sundowns’ bench and fans, but it stood, leaving the team in yellow and blue to chase the game.
The Brazilians pursued an equaliser by employing their trademark “Shoeshine and piano” attack and their industry was eventually rewarded through Mosa, which led to the teams heading into the half-time break level at 1-1.
In the second half, Rosina again stuck their noses in front, but Sundowns, once more, pulled level. After regulation time ended at 2-2, the game was decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Despite Sundowns’ goalkeeper making the first stop, Rosina’s Leremo Otanganedzwa stole the show by saving three spot kicks. Thanks to his heroic effort, they clinched the penalty shootout victory by a 3-1 margin and were crowned the u15 champions of the GDL Youth Cup for a first time.
A passionate reader and dedicated writer, Siya possesses three degrees from Rhodes University including a Postgraduate Diploma at Rhodes University. He also played amateur cricket and soccer, both during his university years. While honing his journalism skills at Grocott’s Mail in Makhanda, he developed a profound interest in the community’s response to crime. Additionally, he covered topics such as art/culture and student politics at Rhodes University in 2022. In his spare time, Siya can be found exploring galleries, dining at restaurants, indulging in literature, taking photographs or savouring his favourite dish, spaghetti.