Tournament director Valentine Brink is looking forward to further growth after another highly successful 44th SPAR Northern Areas Easter tournament resulted in a win for invitation team Sibanye at the weekend.
Not even a downpour on the opening day on Friday could dampen their spirits and Brink said they were looking forward to even “bigger things next year”.
He added that the decision to include an invitation team in Sibanye proved to be a masterstroke, raising the standard of play during the weekend.
Made up of players from the ABC Motsepe and SAB Leagues and representing one of the sponsors of the tournament, Sibanye Electrical, they defeated Park United 5-3 on penalties to win the title after a 1-1 score at the end of extra time.
“I feel this is definitely something to consider for the future because they added a new dimension, but still had to work hard for victory in their matches.”
Another important feature of the festival, said Brink, was the age-group divisions, which lined up with their aims of promoting soccer at all levels.
There were age-groups from U9 to U17, while an U20 category, with eight teams participating, was introduced for the first time.
SPAR promotions and advertising manager Alan Stapleton said they were delighted with the way the tournament unfolded.
“From a SPAR perspective, it was great to be involved with a tournament with such a wonderful heritage, which attracted players from a wide spectrum of clubs,” he said.
“To end the tournament with two spectacular penalty shootouts (seniors and U20) was indicative of the competitive nature of the soccer.”
The results were:
Final: Sibanye 1 Park United 1 (Sibanye won 5-3 on penalties)
Third place: Glenville 2 Fairdene 0
Semifinals: Sibanye 2 Fairdene 0, Park United 2 Glenville 0
U9: Fairview Rovers 1 Westlake 0
U11: Rangers 2 Helenvale 0
U13: Park United 4 Glenville 1
U15: Apex 4 Stardrift 0
U17: Park United 2 Saints 1
U20: Westlake 1 Lads 1 (Westlake won 5-4 on penalties)