Cape Town Angels FC is the Champions of Africa. AYC 04 was a success with u15 and u19 squads participating in both finals. It would have been sweet to bring home both trophies.
AYC 04 is the biggest youth tournament on the continent and Cape Town Angels are the Champions of Africa for 2004.
Thanks must go out to all the supporters who attended. The u15 final got off to a flyer with the girls playing scintillating football. Kayleen Jacobs scored a great goal to put the Angels ahead with a bending ball beating the keeper at the far post. Unfortunately the young squad ran out of steam after relentless pressure from the Cape Town Roses. The game ended 1-4.
The u19 final started late after Coach Lee insisted that the Winnies Ladies FC produce SAFA-WP cards before the final got underway. Winnies could not. Coach Lee stated that this match would be played under protest as he was not happy that the possibility of ineligible players would be able to play. This would increase the risk of injury. The teams then took the field. The crowd was hyped for the game as the Angels had really made an impression on all football lovers at the tournament. Their appearance, personalities, footballing abilities really converted many to call the Angels their team.
The game kicks-off and the u19 squad got off to a flyer. The Angels took the lead in the first 5 minutes with Janice Alexander providing the crowd a moment of pure ecstasy. The Angels looked composed and really took to the big stage. As time elapsed the strength and power of Winnies Ladies FC swayed the momentum in their favor. Winnies drew level with a horror goal. Winnies broke and Melissa Witbooi came out to collect the ball. The Winnies player didn't stop and kicked hoping to challenge the keeper. Instead of kicking the ball she kicked Melissa in the head causing her to have a concussion. The Winnies player then tripped and in a need to capitalize on this situation pushed the ball in with her hand. The ref awarded the goal and continued with the match. Melissa was then rushed to hospital. Lucretia Carelse stepped up and gave a good account of herself.
The second half wasn't much better and the game ended 1-1. This meant extra time. The Angels were ready and created good opportunities. It became evident that the Winnies tactics had become ruthless with regards to playing the player and not the ball. There were scattered bodies all over the place with club trainer, Robin Hendricks doing a fair bit of running to nurse the bruised Angels back to playing. The Angels gave it all they had only to be countered and Winnies going ahead 5 min before time. The Angels mounted attack after attack only to be elbowed, two footed or hit. The game of beauty became a game of attrition. The game ended 2-1 to Winnies. After letting it all on the line Angels still had the protest to deal with. This was scheduled for the following day.
Representatives of AYC and SAFA-WP met with both managers. After much deliberation the Winnies coach of his own admission admitted that he fielded ineligible players and apologized to the Tournament organizers, SAFA-WP and Cape Town Angels FC. Cape Town Angels are Champions of Africa.
Speaking to the coach after, we asked if this was a bitter sweet victory as it was not won on the field. Coach commented that justice prevailed and it was not a moral victory for Cape Town Angels FC but for women's football in the Western Cape. Corruption in football is taking the beauty and spirit away from the game that has given us so much. The girls gave it all they had and were impressive.
At youth level the Angels are growing stronger. The girls deserved the opportunity to play on a stage of this magnitude and the experience can not be bought. The girls will take away fond memories of Africa Youth Cup 2004 and as it is the biggest club tournament in Africa, the Angels are the Champions of Africa.