Stellenbosch Football Club

Stellies progress to second consecutive Next Gen final


Stellenbosch FC have qualified for the final of the Premier League Next Generation Cup for the second season in a row after being held to a 3-3 draw by West Ham United.

Evangelos Vellios’ side has reached a second consecutive Next Gen final as Group A table-toppers after playing out a 3-3 draw against Premier League academy side West Ham United at the Reliance Corporate Park Stadium in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday afternoon.

Stellies started the match in typical fashion and came close to opening the scoring as early as the third minute when Kyle Bailey weaved his way past the opposition goalkeeper and fired an effort at goal, only to see the ball cleared off the goalline.

Antonio van Wyk, the scorer of the club’s opening goal of the tournament against Bengaluru FC last week, came close shortly after with a curling shot that crept inches wide of the goal before Jaylen Trent was denied from a promising position minutes later.

Roy-Keane then threatened next with a drive that was denied only by the outstretched leg of the ‘keeper before captain Kyle Jurgens fired a near-carbon copy of van Wyk’s earlier effort narrowly wide of the West Ham goal.

The early attacking dominance paid off with 24 minutes on the clock when Bailey tapped home the opening goal following a free-kick situation.


Stellenbosch FC have progressed to the final of the 2023 Premier League Next Generation Cup as table-toppers in Group A, after taking seven points from three matches against Bengaluru FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, and West Ham United.

Avontuur took ownership of the dead-ball and fired on goal but saw his effort rebound back into his path off the wall, from where he was able to find Shaakir Ahmed out on the right flank. The pacey winger hit a brilliant early cross into the box where Bailey was on hand to take advantage.

That advantage was short-lived, however, as West Ham United, who primarily threatened through set-pieces, hit back immediately at the other end from a corner after Stellies ‘keeper Dejean Ah Shene misjudged the flight of the crossed ball.

Notwithstanding a late effort from Avontuur, that is how the scores remained level heading into the half-time break as the two sides headed into the dressing rooms to escape the 34-degree temperatures in Mumbai.

You can watch the entire Next Gen match between Stellenbosch FC and West Ham United in the video below, courtesy of the Premier League

Following the interval, Stellies were quickest out of the blocks and restored their lead through Avontuur, who latched onto a well-weighted pass from Van Wyk and fired home a powerful left-footed effort from inside the box.

The Hammers hit back immediately again, though, as Ah Shene found himself in no-mans land following a hopeful long ball upfield West Ham and their striker made no mistake with a lobbed effort that bounced into the ceiling of the net and over the line.

Five minutes later, Avontuur had two glorious opportunities to restore the Maroons’ lead but fired the first wide, before seeing the second attempt inexplicably denied by a superb reflex save from the opposition goalkeeper.

Those missed opportunities were punished soon after as West Ham took the lead for the first time in the match in the 55th minute and with it the promise of topping Group A and reaching the final of this year’s Next Gen competition.

There proved to be another twist in the tale, however, as this time it was Stellies who pegged their British opponents back immediately, with Avontuur making amends for his earlier miss by expertly rounding the ‘keeper and firing home from a tight angle.


Roy-Keane Avontuur has now scored three goals in three matches at the 2023 Premier League Next Generation Cup, having also previously netted in last week’s 2-0 Group A win over ATK Mohun Bagan.

The encounter descended into a physical affair shortly after and tensions boiled over toward the death, when both teams were reduced to ten men following an unsavoury altercation.

Reigning champions Stellenbosch were not to be denied at the end of the day and defended valiantly in the face of a late barrage of attacks to deny West Ham and secure their spot in a second consecutive Premier League Next Generation Cup final.

Fixture details for the final will be confirmed and communicated in due course.