SAB in proud partnership with SAFA has kick-started the annual SAB U21 National Championships at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, Durban.

Games began at 09h00am, where Northern Cape were thrashed 3 – 0 by relentless Mpumalanga side, while a determined Team Limpopo edged 2016 Champions and 2017 runners-up, USSA to secure a narrow 2-1 win. Limpopo’s winning streak continued as they beat Western Cape 2-1 in the day’s final fixture at 15h30pm.

While Limpopo managed to pen two successive wins and top the log of Group B in the opening games of the tournament, Western Cape will need a strong comeback strategy as they go up against USSA tomorrow, 18 July 2018 at 11h00am. Their loss against Limpopo comes on the back of a 3-0 loss against North West. North West gave a convincing performance in what was seen by many as the match of the day. Star performer, Malebo Mmusetsi (Jersey no.10) played a crucial part in his team’s victory as he had an assist in the first goal and scored the second goal which crushed any hope the Western Cape team had for a comeback. In the ten-year history of the Championships, North West is one of five provinces to have not been crowned as champions of the prestigious grassroots development Cup.

Mmusetsi who is in the books of North West University which plays in the SAB League, will look to follow in the footsteps of Thabo Rakhale and Thabo Mnyamane who both plied their trade in the SAB League for the same team. The young player credited the SAB initiative for giving players from the North West exposure and opportunities that rarely come by: “We want to take our province to another level, because we are the underdogs at this tournament. We came here to prove a point and we really had a good game (against Western Cape).” Having reached the final twice in 2009 and 2013, North West is looking to go all way this year.

The much-anticipated match between the home team, Kwa-Zulu Natal attracted a great crowd attendance with football lovers of all ages in attendance. Home ground advantage worked in the team’s favour as they secured a 4-1 victory against Northern Cape. Similarly, to North West, Kwa-Zulu Natal is yet to taste the glory of winning the coveted SAB National Championships trophy, failing to reach the knock-out stages in every other year apart from 2012 where they finished 3rd. Despite a well-deserved and hard-fought showing this afternoon, the Kwa-Zulu Natal team have their work set out for them as they will play against the defending champions, Gauteng in the first match of Day 2, 18 July 2018 at 09h00am.

Gauteng started the 2018 Championship on a high as they comfortably recorded a 2-0 win against Free State. Team Free State battled to hit the back of the net once again, as their second game against Mpumalanga ended 0-0 , while university select side, USSA recorded the largest goal margin of the day, scoring 4-0 against Eastern Cape in their second match. A contrast to the USSA team’s first game against Limpopo where they lost 2-1.

The first day of the SAB U21 National Championships saw 23 goals being scored in 8 games and set the mood for what is yet to come during the course of the week. Football fans are in for a thrilling week of nothing but the best grassroots football on offer. On Day 2, the most anticipated fixture is the first game to be played at 09h00am between defending champions Gauteng and provincial team, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Day 1 Results:

Northern Cape 0 – 3 Mpumalanga
USSA 1 – 2 Limpopo
Free State 0 – 2 Gauteng
Western Cape 0 – 3 North West
Northern Cape 1 – 4 KwaZulu Natal
USSA 4 – 0 Eastern Cape
Mpumalanga 0 – 0 Free State
Limpopo 2 – 1 Western Cape

Source : MSports Media