Champions set for Brebner challenge

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MORGAN PIEK

Bloemfontein soccer lovers will be in for a real treat next month with the annual Engen Knockout Challenge at Grey College upon us.

The draw for the Knockout Challenge was made in Bloemfontein last week and as usual it promises to be another thrilling and exciting affair. Organisers of the popular tournament implemented a new drawing system in the 11th year of the tournament being hosted by Grey in order to avoid early upsets and exits.

For the first time in the history of the event, the sixteen participating teams actually had to qualify, even Harmony of Welkom had to go through the tough qualifiers and we are glad to report that they are back to defend their title.

In a twist, the organisers have placed the four top-ranked teams, Harmony, Grey College, Bloemfontein Celtic Colts and FC Remember in four separate pools with the 12 remaining teams drawn around them.

The draw was generated via computer for the first time and the hope was to avoid the dreaded group of death.

However, Murphy’s law had other ideas and gave us a group of death. Group C for the tournament has everybody talking and will surely be the focus point of the tournament in the first weekend of July.

Harmony will have a uphill task if they want any chance of defending their title after being drawn in Group C along, with Brebner High School, Navalsig High School and HTS Louis Botha.

Tournament organiser Ludwig Koekemoer, who unfortunately will not be at the tournament this year, told Courant that Harmony versus Brebner will be one of the many highlights this year.

"It’s probably one of the highlights of the tournament, both are highly competitive teams. Obviously the history and pedigree of Harmony comes to the fore, but you can never throw away at team like Brebner. They are well coached and disciplined and it’s not going to be easy for any of the other groups to compete with Group C in the sense of the quality of teams. There are individual teams who are fantastic and they’ve all qualified and they all deserve to be here."

The 2015 Engen Knockout Challenge runs from 3 to 5 July at Windmill Park at Grey College.

Draw Results

Group A – Grey College, Thaba Nchu All Stars, Moemedi, Hodisa. Group B – FC Remember, Eagles United, Kagisho, Lekhulong. Group C – Harmony, Brebner, HTS Louis Botha, Navalsig. Group D – Bloemfontein Celtic FC Colts, Dr Block, James FC, Tsoseletso.