The annual Metropolitan Premier Cup showpiece at Easter has, through no fault of the organisers, failed in achieving what it set out to do... promote u/19 soccer in all districts in the Western Cape.
Notably, only three out of the 19 districts belonging to Safa-Cape Town still run these youth competitions, compared to when the majority of districts focused on developing such leagues after the first Premier Cup kicked off 19 years ago.
The Cape Town-Tygerberg, Northern Suburbs and Mitchell?s Plain LFAs have, to their advantage, persevered with these leagues.
The successes of Ajax-Cape Town (CT-Tygerberg) and Santos (Mitchell's Plain) at the Premier Cup in recent years highlight the value of leagues which serve as ideal springboards for talented players.
Ajax and Santos are again expected to be dominant forces in the 2007 cup competition at the Erica Park grounds in Belhar from Wednesday, 4 until Monday, 9 April.
Clubs from "Up North" that will rival them for the R20 000 cash prize for the champions include defending champions Harmony Academy (Free State), Mamelodi Sundowns, Arcadia Shepherds, Wits University and SuperSport United.
Ex-Bafana Bafana captain Calvin Petersen, who hails from Bonteheuwel, is the coach for debutants Lions AFC of KwaZulu-Natal.
The entry of the top Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal clubs again promises to have a positive effect on the five-day event, which culminates with the championship final at 15:00 on Easter Monday.
Wits University, Sundowns or SuperSport could so easily provide a couple of Cape youngsters, who have not yet been netted by Ajax or Santos, with the opportunity to join their youth academies.
And, who knows? Bafana's new coach Carlos Parreira may just consider a trip "Down South" to spot some talented teenagers he can put on the road to World Cup 2010.
Remember, Nasief Morris, Benni McCarthy and Matthew Booth have gone on to represent SA with Bafana, after outstanding performances at the Premier Cup for u/19s.
The participating clubs are:
Group A: Harmony Academy, Maritzburg Utd, Woodlands, CT-Milano.
Group B: Bayhill Utd, Lions (KZN), Voorbrug Academy, Avendale.
Group C: Wits University, BK Callies, Peninsula Utd, Wolves Utd.
Group D: Ajax-Cape Town, Carl von Weinberg (Germany), Parkhurst, Ikapa Academy.
Group E: Silver Stars, Bay Utd, Vasco Da Gama, United AFC.
Group F: Santos, Bright Stars (KZN), Saxon Utd, South Nottingham College (Engand).
Group G: Moroka Swallows, SuperSport Utd, Old Mutual Academy, Cultural Roots.
Group H: Mamelodi Sundowns, Arcadia Shepherds, Juventus, Maties FC.
Fixtures for Wednesday, 4 April are as follows:
16:00 - Vasco vs United, Woodlands vs Milano, Voorbrug vs Avendale.
17:15 - Peninsula vs Wolves.
18:30 - Old Mutual vs Cultural Roots.
20:00 - Juventus vs Maties.