New twist to Premier Cup

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

The yearly Metropolitan Premier Cup held in Cape Town every Easter weekend celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

And to mark this historic occasion, the event will not only feature local teams and those from England and Germany, but for the very first time Accra's Hearts of Oak, a premier league team from Ghana, will also be represented.

The tournament takes place from Wednesday March 19 to Monday March 24 at Erika Park sports fields in Belhar.

The 32 teams have been drawn in eight groups of four teams each, who will play each other in a round-robin format.

Over the years this tournament has grown to be the premier competition in the U-19 age group in South Africa, with many national and professional coaches attending to scout for future stars.

The Metropolitan Premier Cup is a hunting ground for players who have graduated to national teams, such as current Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena, all-time top goal scorer Benni McCarthy and defender Matthew Booth, while others are scattered all over the Premiership and National First Division sides.

The programme for this year started in October 2007 with 96 amateur teams vying for one of the 14 places allocated. The other 18 places are filled by 12 Absa Premiership teams as well as defending champions Bright Stars, Showvillage United Brothers (Metropolitan U-19 league champions) and Isibaya Bootlaces (KZN Metropolitan U-19 league champions), and the visiting teams from England, Germany and Ghana.