NDZONDELELO High are the new champions of the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Cup under-19 soccer competition in Nelson Mandela Bay after defeating defending champions Ncedo 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the final at Zwide Stadium yesterday.
Ncedo won the regional title last year and earned the bronze medal at the national finals. Zwide’s Ndzondelelo won the regional title for the second time after they were crowned champions in 2005.
The final was played in high spirits with both teams striving for the top prize.
Ndzondelelo spent the better part of the first half studying their opponents, who threatened to score early. Motherwell team Ncedo dominated territorially in the first half, keeping them on their toes.
Ndzondelelo came back strongly in the opening minutes of the second half, but they were unable to penetrate Ncedo’s defence. The defending champs then raised the pace and dominated possession but could not break through and the match ended in a goalless draw, with Ndzondelelo going on to win the shootout.
Excited coach Ayanda Magwada said he could not even explain the feeling of winning the regional championship because it had been his intention to win the trophy from the start of the competition.
"The boys have done us proud and they have what it takes to go far in the competition,” Magwada said.
He said he was overwhelmed the school had beaten the favourites.
Magwada attributed the team’s victory to hard work, dedication and commitment from the players.
They now have a spot in the provincial elimination round of the tournament, which will take place later this year.