2010 Metropolitan Premier Cup, Erica Park, Belhar - Day 3
Date published: 03 April 2010 by MPC CorrespondantFireworks lit up the night sky in a blaze of colour as the 2010 edition of the Metropolitan Premier Cup was officially opened on a perfect Good Friday evening at Erica Park in Belhar. The large crowd was treated to a performance by a troupe of dancers accompanied by a band of drummers before each of the 32 competing teams participated in a march-past on the main field.In declaring the tournament open, Metropolitan General Manager: Corporate Affairs, Christabell Kota said, "It is wonderful to see the continued growth in support for this tournament. Metropolitan are proud to have partnered with Bayhill United over the past 21 years as the competition has grown from strength to strength into the exciting event it is today. Moreover, the positive effect it has on the entire local community gives a huge boost to the area, which underpins Metropolitan's philosophy of engaging in grassroots development. Good luck to all the teams, and may you compete in the finest spirit of sporting tradition and above all, enjoy yourselves."John Rangoli, Chairman of hosts, Bayhill United F.C. added, "If you look at the crowd here tonight it is evident that Cape Town loves the Premier Cup, so we are aware of the need to give back to the community and are continually motivated to provide quality entertainment by improving every year. Hearty thanks to Metropolitan for their unwavering support as our partners for 21 of the 22 years of the Premier Cup. We are happy to welcome back Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates following a lengthy absence, and we are equally honoured to have in our midst two teams from Swaziland to add a bit of international flavour to proceedings. For the young players participating, this is their 'mini World Cup'. They are too young to take part in the fabulous spectacle that will reach our shores in June but this inspires them to strive to be part of the greatest show on earth in future years."President of SAFA, Cape Town, Norman Arendse said, "SAFA is delighted to support this event. It is the most successful football tournament in the entire country at any level. Much credit must go to Metropolitan and Bayhill United for setting a standard of seamless organisation that serves as a template for others to follow. Every club wants to play at the Premier Cup so it is guaranteed that only the best teams are on show, drawing scouts from all the top teams in the country, as well as Africa and Europe. It's certainly the place to be at Easter."On the field of play, Supersport United emerged as 1-0 winners in their eagerly awaited clash against Kaizer Chiefs to top the Group E standings. Mamelodi Sundowns kept their defence of the trophy on track with a competent 2-0 Group A victory over Player's Academy in the evening's main fixture.Crowd favourites, Ajax Cape Town found themselves on the wrong end of an upset, losing 2-1 to Free State Stars in a thrilling Group D encounter, although the Urban Warriors are still expected to progress beyond the round robin phase. They could be joined by Old Mutual Academy, who eased past Swazi side, Manzini Sundowns, 3-0.In Group B, hosts Bayhill United failed to make the most of home ground advantage, going down 2-0 to the University of Pretoria, ending their hopes of qualifying for the second round.Group C action saw Glenville Celtic get the better of their namesakes Bloemfontein Celtic, 1-0, leaving the Free State outfit on the verge of elimination.Moroka Swallows came from behind to shock the School of Excellence 2-1 to throw Group F wide open. Much will depend on the final round of matches before the qualifiers are decided.Highlands Park overcame Santos by a single goal, while Battswood and Harmony Academy played out a goalless draw, leaving Group G up for grabs.Finally, the other guest team from Swaziland, Young Buffaloes earned their first points of the campaign, drawing 1-1 against Orlando Pirates in Group H.Saturday's full programme starts at 9:00am with the completion of the group stage. The round of 16 knockout phase gets under way at 3:30pm with the final match of the day kicking off at 8:00pm.