Vumbuka Trust Cup 2023 celebrates 10 Years.

The Vumbuka Trust will be sponsoring Mkhondo Local Football Association through The Vumbuka Trust Cup for the 10th time this season. In addition the trust itself is celebrating 10 years of existence as a shareholding partner at TWK. To celebrate this milestone The Vumbuka Trust increased its sponsorship to a whooping R180 000 for the multi division football tournament. The sponsorship value has increased with almost 1500% when compared to the 1st edition sponsorship value 10 years ago. The first ever edition was sponsored with R12000, and it had a single division i.e. Promotion League, the tournament now carries six (6) divisions.

The 2023 tournament began on on Saturday 28 October 2023 with the under 13 development league divisions consisting of fourteen (14) teams. The Under 15 (14 teams), and the Under 17 divisions (18 teams) will kick off on 04 November 2023. There will also be seven (7) teams in the Under 15 girls division also playing on Saturday. The girls will play in a round-robin format and then play knockout in the semi-final stage. The senior ladies division teams have been drawn from the Mkhondo Ladies League 2023/24 which began in September 2023 with seven teams. They will kick of their round robin of two groups on Saturday 11 November 2023.

The men’s division teams have been drawn from the Mkhondo Promotion League 2023/24 season. A total of 66 teams are expected to be part of the 2023 edition. The participating clubs come from different areas of the Mkhondo Local Municipality that are playing league football under the Mkhondo Local Football Association. The clubs are affiliated with the Mkhondo LFA through seven (7) Sub LFAs i.e. Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA, Simakade Sub LFA, Saul Mkhizeville (Old Stand) Sub LFA, Sinethemba Driefontein Sub LFA, Sulphur Springs Sub LFA, Thandukukhanya Sub LFA, and the newly launched UHlelo Sub LFA. It is not clear if the Amsterdam & Commondale Sub LFAs will take part at this year’s tournament as they are yet to pay the required affiliation fee to the association. Each Sub LFA will have to produce a champion team to represent it at the main finals.

The tournament will wrap up with an all-day football finals extravaganza starting with the Under 13 division and closing with the senior’s final at 3pm on Sunday 19 November 2023 at Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya. Prizes for the tournament include cash, playing kits, match balls and training equipment for all runners up in all divisions. To date The Vumbuka Trust has distributed more than forty (40) playing jerseys to different champions over the years. The success of the tournament has resulted in the increase of league participation by clubs based in the Mkhondo Local Municipality jurisdiction. UHlelo Sub LFA has joined the Mkhondo LFA by affiliating to the association and will be part of the 2023 tournament. The Sub LFA is based at Ward 4,6& 8 in the Mkhondo Local Municipality.  

UHlelo lukaGod. New league stream ready for kick off.

The 2023/24 Mkhondo Promotional League season will open with a new league stream as an addition to the existing Mkhondo Local Football Association league streams. The inaugural UHlelo Promotion League is expected to kick off on Sunday 22 October 2023 at Rustplaas, Maphepheni & Ajax Village. The league will be administered by an executive committee to be known as the UHlelo Sub Local Football Association.

The Sub LFA consist of clubs from four wards under the Mkhondo Local Municipality jurisdictional area i.e. Ward 4, 6&8. The clubs come from the villages of Ajax, Daliya, Derby, Ezakheni, Iswepe, New Home, Maphepheni, Rustplaas and Sgudada. The clubs have affiliated to the Mkhondo Local Football Association but will compete separately under the banner of UHlelo Promotion League consisting of fourteen (14) clubs. They will participate in all competitions under the control of the Mkhondo LFA and will also be allowed to host own tournaments.

The league winners will form part of the Mkhondo Promotional Playoffs where all the Mkhondo champions meet for a 2 days tournament. Some of the exciting tournaments include The Vumbuka Trust Cup which will be playing for the 10th season this year, the annual Vusi Motha Xmas Challenge in December and the lucrative PG Bison Knockout Cup.

There will be no home and away hosting in the first season, matches will be played at four (4) identified grounds. The grounds will be increased in the following season when the league has established itself. The chairperson of the league Mr. Pitso Mpungose explained the decision. “We have a challenge of referees at the moment. We will use the start of the season to recruit referees. Once we have recruited enough referees then we will add more grounds. We also want to limit the number of grounds for easy monitoring of games by the new committee,” he said.

Representatives of clubs from UHlelo Sub Local Football Association listening attentively at the meeting of the association held at Maphepheni Community Office on Freedom Day 27 April 2023.

The Executive committee members were elected to lead the new Sub LFA early on April 27, 2023 at Maphepheni. Seventeen (17) clubs were present at the launch meeting of the Sub LFA where they decided to play league football. The name UHlelo is derived from the river that crosses in between the rural villages of Ward 4, 6&8. The new league begins on Sunday 22 October 2023 with matches playing at Ajax Ground, Maphepheni and Rustplaas Ground, Mkhondo.

The Executive Committeee consist of the following members: 1. Mr. Pitso Mpungose – Chairperson 2. Mr. Mdu Khumalo – 1st Deputy Chairperson 3. Mr. Bonginkosi Ngwenya – 2nd Deputy Chairperson (Treasurer) 4. Mr. Thokozani Mkhulisi – Secretary 5. Mr. Nathi Khumalo – Deputy Secretary.

The executive committee was elected by the following founding clubs:

1. Arsenal Eagles FC from Ajax Village 2. Ajax Bayern Munich FC from Ajax Village

3. Ajax Sweepers FC from Ajax Village 4. Doctor pols FC from Ajax Village

5. Goodwill Promising FC from eMaphepheni 6. India kilo FC from eMaphepheni

7. Khumalo Stars FC from Rustplaas 8. Mjomane Swallows FC from Sgudada

9. Nathi lions FC from Daliya 10. United Boyz from Ezakheni

11. United Brothers FC from Nkonjaneni 12. Two For Joy FC from Halangenkani

13. Ward 6 Brazilian FC from Derby 14. New Home FC from New Home.

Liyasha eMkhondo!!!

Future of horse racing in Mpumalanga is looking bright.

The future of horse racing in Mpumalanga is very promising judging by recent developments and a new race on the cards. The semi-rural town of Mkhondo will host the first annual horse racing event to be dubbed the Mpumalanga August Horse Racing on Saturday 19 August 2023. Three weeks ago, a historical sponsorship agreement between Imizamo Yabagibeli Horse Racing Association and the Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sports & Recreation was signed, sealed and delivered by officials of the department.

The sponsorship agreement between the parties involved signals a promising future for horse racing in the region. Such partnerships are crucial for the growth and development of sports, as they provide financial support and resources to enhance the industry. The good news was delivered at a meeting held at Ogenyaneni Traditional House under the authority of Chief Yende on 20 July 2023.

The signing of the sponsorship agreement at Ogenyaneni Traditional House, under the authority of Chief Yende, adds a significant cultural dimension to the event. It emphasizes the connection between horse racing and local traditions, showcasing the rich heritage and values associated with the sport. The department pledged to assist Imizamo Yabagibeli Horse Racing Association with a whooping R200 000 to organize the first annual Mpumalanga horse racing event. The memorandum was presented to Inkosi Yende of Ogenyaneni Traditional Authority and Imizamo Yabagibeli Horse Racing Association represented by the chairperson Mr. Shabalala. The HOD of the Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sports & Recreation (DCSR) Mr. Ngoma presented the historic agreement.

“Please do not fight over this money, use it for its intended use. We have come a long way and we still going far with this race, make us proud as Mkhondo.”

Letter confirming support to the Mpumalanga August Race being handed to Inkosi Yende & Imizamo Yabagibeli Association by DCSR officials on 20 July 2023. (From left) Mr. Shabalala, Mr. Ngoma & Miss Mogale from DCSR and Inkosi Yende of Ogenyaneni Traditional Authority.

The Gert Sibande District Municipality was represented at the meeting by the Executive Mayor himself, the Hon Cllr. Walter Mngomezulu. The Honourable pledged to assist the event through the special project of his office to the tune of R100 000 towards the success of the event. He said the event has a potential unite Mpumalanga. “We have seen events like Ingoma (Ingoma kaShemeni) bringing people together which is beautiful. When the Chief invited me to this meeting, I told myself that I should be here to witness this good initiative. We are going to support this event until it grows and be able to stand for itself,” said the Executive Mayor. The Mkhondo Local Municipality also pledged a little something to contribute towards the success of the event. The General Manager of Community Services Mrs. Zama-Nyambose Mthethwa, accompanied by Senior Manager Mr. Vusiwe Dube, promised to give all the support towards the success of the event.

The facilitator and master of the event, Inkosi Yende appealed to the government officials and izinduna to give the horse racing association freedom to organize the race. “This event is about horse racing, and I believe only Mr. Shabalala, Mr. Madonsela and Mr. Nkosi know better about this racing. Let us not interfere too much but give them the support they need.” Inkosi also warned the association about the importance of using the money wisely. “Shabalala and your team please do not fight over this money, use it for its intended use. We have come a long way and we still going far with this race, make us proud as Mkhondo”, he concluded.

A parade of the competing horses will be conducted in the morning before the race through the Mkhondo CBD. Imizamo Yabagibeli conducted same parade in the previous race which took place in Mabola (about 40km from the Mkhondo CBD) in May last year.

The horse racing event is expected to bring Mkhondo to a standstill and contribute to massive economic activities. Horse racing events are generally loved by fashion fanatics and local designers will get a chance to showcase their designs. A crowd of 5000 people is expected to descend at Mkhondo to watch the first Mpumalanga race. The local paper packaging company Mpact has agreed to let the association use its land for the race. The land in question is 10km from the Mkhondo CBD on the right-hand side of the N2 when travelling towards Ermelo. It is direct opposite to Maphepheni and the companies PG Bison & Mpact.

Promotion League season ends with spectacular playoff tournament.

The 2022/23 season of the Mkhondo Promotion League ended with a spectacular playoff tournament featuring six league champions battling to become the undisputed kings of Mkhondo. Total Football United FC reigned supreme by defeating Amabhubesi FC 4-3 on penalties in the final played at Nohhemu Sport Ground, kwaNgema on Sunday 2 July 2023. The win confirmed the team’s status of being the undisputed champions of Mkhondo.

The two-day Mkhondo Promotional Playoffs took place on 1st & 2nd July 2023 at Nohhemu Sport Ground, kwaNgema about 35 kilometres from the Mkhondo CBD. The six champions were divided into groups of two i.e. Group A&B. Winning the group meant a place in the final and qualification to the Regional Playoffs. Group A consisted of Total Football United FC representing Thandukukhanya Sub LFA, Black Lion FC from Sulphur Springs Sub LFA and Rangers FC from Simakade Sub LFA.

Group B consisted of Amabhubesi FC from Amsterdam Sub LFA, Killers FC from Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA and Al Ahly FC from the newly established Commondale Sub LFA. The Commondale Sub LFA participated for the first time after joining the Mkhondo Local Football Association at the start of the 2022/23 season. Al Ahly FC represented the newly established league very well, and judging by the club’s performance the Commondale based league will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Al Ahly drew against Amabhubesi FC and lost to host club Killers FC 2-0 but gave a good performance by debutants.

Amabhubesi FC attacker Simiso Nkosi won player of the tournament at the Mkhondo Local Football Association Playoffs prize giving held at Nohhemu Ground on Sunday 2 July 2023.

“We promise next time we will give more support. The local mines are willing to assist football development in the area if we approach them correctly.”

The final was a repeat of the 2022 PG Bison Knockout final where Total Football United FC won 4-2 against Amabhubesi. Amabhubesi FC opened the scoresheet via a well taken goal by Kwanele Khumalo in the 40th minute of the 1st half, taking a 1-0 lead into half time.

Shortly After the restart Total Football United got a free kick outside the box. A well taken free kick by Kwanele ‘Demba’ Gule flew straight into the net sending the Total Football faithful into celebration. The beautiful free kick was the last open play goal to be scored at the tournament. It is probably the most talked about goal this season right now. Total Football United keeper Skwira Mavuso saved two penalties helping his side to a 4-3 victory and the Mkhondo Promotion League championship. It is the second consecutive final to be decided on penalties after last season’s final between Total Football United against Ajax Sweepers FC. Ironically Ajax Sweepers went on to qualify for the Men Regional League.

Mkhuseli ‘Kesi’ Vilakazi won top goalscorer award at the Mkhondo LFA Playoffs prize giving held at Nohhemu Ground on Sunday 2 July 2023. Kesi scored two goals for Black Lion FC in the tournament.

The 2022/23 champions received a trophy and gold medals while the runners-up Amabhubesi FC received silver medals. There were also individual trophies on offer by the Mkhondo Local Football Association. The player of the tournament went to Amabhubesi FC attacker Smiso Nkosi.

The top goal scorer award was taken by Mthuliseni ‘Kesi’ Vilakazi who scored 2 goals for Black Lion FC. The goalkeeper of the tournament award went to Sandile Vilakazi of Al Ahly FC. Thokozani ‘TK’ Hlatshwayo won the coach of the tournament for guiding his team to victory. It is a well-deserved award for the coach who has won every important trophy this season.

The seasoned coach won the Mkhondo Easter Games and PG Knockout Cup before claiming the Mkhondo Promotion League championship.Beside the lack of sponsorship towards the tournament, support was given to the tournament hosts Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA by local ward councillor Cllr. Mlamuli Mbatha who made sure there was sound system at the venue and tournament match ball.

Thokozani ‘TK’ Hlatshwayo won coach of the tournament at the MKLFA Playoffs prize giving held at Nohhemu Ground on Sunday 2 July 2023. The coach led his team Total Football United FC to a second consecutive Mkhondo Promotion League championship.

Cllr. Mbatha apologized for not providing more for the tournament but promised to continue supporting sport activities in the area. “We are happy as Ward 3 to host such a beautiful tournament. We promise next time we will give more support. The local mines are willing to assist football development in the area if we approach them correctly”. He also gave word of support at the prize giving promising to work with the association to get sponsors from local business. “Congratulations for reaching the stage of the league. We are happy that you are going to represent all of us as Mkhondo, good luck to both teams,” he concluded to loud applause.

The champions and runners-up have one more hurdle to go through before getting Promotion to the Gert Sibande Men Regional League. The two teams will be involved in the Gert Sibande Promotional Playoffs against teams from Msukaligwa LFA. They will each play a single match that will decide if they get promoted or not. The Regional Playoffs are set for Sunday 16 July 2023 at the much-loved Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya in Mkhondo.

Mkhondo Champions to battle it out at the playoffs.

The Mkhondo Promotion League 2022/23 season wraps up this weekend with the Promotional Playoffs featuring six (6) league champions. The most important tournament of the league season will take place on Saturday, 01 & and Sunday, 02 July 2023, at Nohhemu Sport Ground, Ngema Trust.  A total of Six (6) teams made it to the playoffs after attaining top position in their respective leagues. They are coming to the playoffs as champions.

The long journey began in August 2022 with a total of eighty-two (82) teams, all affiliated to the Mkhondo Local Football Association. The teams are closer their destination, which is promotion to the higher league. The teams were all competing for the top position which they attained in their respective leagues, but now it is the ultimate stage. The battle of champions.

The competing teams include former Mkhondo Promotion League champions and top favourites Total Football United FC. The Thandukukhanya Promotion League champions are drawn in group A along with playoffs debutants Rangers FC from Simakade Sub LFA. Black Lion FC is returning to the playoffs for the 3rd time and might be the surprise package coming as underdogs into the tournament. The Sulphur Springs champions are drawn group A.

Group B is headlined by host club Killers FC who qualified after winning Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Promotion League for the first time. The club dethroned three-time champions Kunene FC and are the oldest club in the tournament. Amabhubesi FC from Amsterdam Promotion League will be making their 3rd appearance at the playoffs. They will play their opening game against tournament debutants Al Ahly FC from Commondale. The club comes from the new Commondale Promotion League stream which was playing league football from the first time in the 2022/23 season.

The top two teams to reach the final will progress to the Gert Sibande Promotional playoffs. At the Regional playoffs the top two teams will play against two clubs from Msukaligwa LFA for the two available spots in the 2023/24 season. The Gert Sibande FA will be introducing a new 16-team league stream that will feature teams from Mkhondo and Msukaligwa LFA. The teams will no longer travel more than 100 kilometres to play Regional League matches. The teams that will qualify will definitely be relieved by this decision especially when it comes to travelling.

The Mkhondo Promotion League kick off on Saturday morning with Rangers FC taking on tournament favourites Total Football United FC at 9am. They will be followed by Amabhubesi FC vs Al Ahly FC of Group B at 11am.

Mkhondo Promotion League 2022/23 season Promotional Playoffs 2023 taking place at Nohhemu Sports Ground, kwaNgema in Mkhondo under the Gert Sibande Region of Mpumalanga.

Prestigious Netball World Cup Trophy received with fanfare.

The prestigious Vitality Netball World Cup trophy was received with so much fanfare when it arrived at the Ermelo Sanlam Center, Ermelo on Tuesday 6 June 2023.  Netball teams from the Gert Sibande Region mobilised their players to come witness the historic moment of having a World Cup trophy in their mist. The trophy was highly protected by security personnel from the SAPS VIP Protection unit. The MEC and other VIP politicians were not as highly guarded as the trophy, but people did not care to notice.

On arrival, the trophy was brought in a silver briefcase with black trimmings resembling the ones seen in crime films. We were told that nobody else is allowed to touch the trophy except for the President of Netball South Africa, Miss Cecilia Molokwane. The trophy is highly respected, the President has to wear white gloves every time she touches it. She proceeded to take out the trophy from the briefcase and put it inside a glass for public viewing. The people took pictures of the trophy with enthusiasm.

There were also important dignitaries from netball and government posing in front of the trophy. The trophy was unveiled by the President of Netball South Africa, Miss Cecilia Molokwane, alongside the Honorable MEC Thandi Shongwe of the Department of Culture, Sport & Recreation in Mpumalanga. The acting Executive Mayor of Msukaligwa Local Municipality was present alongside political leaders from the Gert Sibande District Municipality. The President Miss Molokwane spoke to members of the media which included us and Ligwa FM based in Ermelo.

Africa is the only continent with four (4) teams in the tournament and that tells you we have arrived as Africans, and we are taking it.

Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane placing the trophy down for public viewing at the Vitality Netball World Cup Trophy Tour in Ermelo. Only the champions will hold the trophy with bare hands.

Miss Molokwane said she was hopeful that the Proteas and the other African countries will do well at the World Cup next month. “We have the home crowd that will be cheering for the Proteas team, and we promise that we will not disappoint our fans.” The president asked the local supporters to also support the fellow African teams at the World Cup that include Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe. “I am rooting for the African countries to do well in the tournament. In 2019 at the World Cup the African teams finished in the top 8. I believe in Malawi and the She Cranes of Uganda. Africa is the only continent with four (4) teams in the tournament and that tells you we have arrived as Africans, and we are taking it. Look at Zimbabwe, they came from nowhere to reach the quarter finals.”

Letsatsi the official Netball World Cup 2023 mascot was also present at the tour. The name ‘Letsasti’ is a Sotho word which means the sun/day.

The MEC responsible for the Department of Culture, Sports & Recreation (DCSR) Thandi Shongwe said government is committed to the development of netball and fully support Proteas. She asked the Local Sport Councils to work with her provincial government in identifying areas that need sports infrastructure development. “The department is committed in supporting netball. We will continue to build netball courts to contribute to development of the sports. The Municipalities and Local Sport Councils must lead the processes of building sports infrastructure and come up with maintenance plans. This should help prevent building white elephants but usable infrastructure,” she concluded.

The Vitality Netball World Cup 2023 will be played on South Africa soil for the first time from the 28th of July 2023 to 6 August in Cape Town. Sixteen (16) teams will do battle for ten (10) days with the hope of becoming world champions. The games will be played in Cape Town but other cities like Durban will also get to host some of the matches.

Girls’ tournament inspires hope, boost league football development.

A new football tournament has brought excitement and encouragement towards the development of women football in Mkhondo. The inaugural Mphazima Funeral Services Cup wrapped up with an exciting final between Mkhondo City Stars and Shining Stars Ladies FC in front of a modest crowd at the Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya on Monday 1 May 2023. Mkhondo City Stars defeated Shining Stars Ladies 5-1 to claim the inaugural trophy.

The girls under 17 division tournament played using group and knockout format with eight (8) clubs from the Mkhondo Girls U15 League. A total of 72 goals were scored in 16 matches played at the three (3) day tournament. The eventual champions scored the majority of goals (27), which included an 8-0 win against Shining Stars Ladies FC and Junior United Ladies FC at the group stages. They also cruised to the final with a 6-0 victory against General Zebras Ladies FC in the semifinals.

“We can see that you love playing soccer. Mphazima Funeral Services will continue to support you until you develop further,”

Shining Stars Ladies FC lost 5-1 in the final against the champions, but they went home proud of their display. In the final, they showed determination and bravery against a side that gave them an 8-0 thrashing at the group stages. The club avoided a huge loss and managed to score a goal in the final against the well-developed Mkhondo City Stars FC under the guidance of Mr. Thembela Mdluli. Shining Stars Ladies FC young coach Phumlani ‘Zage’ Ngwenya was full of praise for the girls even though they lost in the final. “We played well even though we lost by so many goals. We saw improvement from the 8-0 loss against a well-developed team. We will continue to train and improve our team in the league,” he said looking dejected.

Player of the tournament Mbalenhle Mabasa on the ball against Shining Stars Ladies FC in the final of Mphazima Funeral Services Cup. She helped her team Mkhondo City Stars to a 6-1 win on Monday, 1 May 2023 at Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo.

Harmony Ladies FC finished on 3rd place after a 2-1 win against General Zebras Ladies FC in the 3rd place playoff match. Harmony Ladies lost a chance to appear in the final after losing 2-1 in the semi-final against Shining Stars Ladies FC. Local football fans and administrators alike felt somewhat happy and relieved to see the team back in action barely a month after losing their coach and mentor, the legendary Mr. DJ Mshololo. The team is now coached by his son and PR Barcelona player Hope Mshololo.

The clubs and players immediately received their awards after the final match. There was a mini competition for the fans and participants presented by Mphazima Funeral Services officials Miss Ndlangamandla and Miss Ncamisile Zwane just before the prize giving commenced. They gave away sweets and chocolates to the fans who managed to answer questions about the company.

The football association will be starting the Mkhondo Promotion League for the women division in June this year.

The managing director of Mphazima Funeral Services, Miss Sinethemba Ndlangamandla, promised to continue assisting women football development by staging more tournaments in the future. “We are happy to be here to watch and support girls’ playing soccer. We can see that you love playing soccer. Mphazima Funeral Services will continue to support you until you develop further,” she said to a loud applause from the players. Miss Ndlangamandla proceeded to present the awards to the individual players and the clubs.

The champions Mkhondo City Stars FC were the big winners at the prize giving ceremony scooping almost all the awards. The first individual award went to Zanethemba Dlamini for winning the goalkeeper of the tournament award. Lindo Mabaso and Harmony Ladies FC striker Mpilo Malinga both won the joint top scorer award. The two goal-getters each scored eight (8) goals in 5 matches. Young midfielder Mbalenhle Mabasa won the player of the tournament award.

The individual award winners, GK Zanethemba Dlamini, Mpilo Malinga, Mbalenhle Mabasa and Lindo Mabaso with Miss Sinethemba Ndlangamandla of Mphazima Funeral Services after the prize giving held at Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya. Picture by Diso

The champion coach, Mr. Thembela Mdluli, won the coach of the tournament award. In a spirit of sportsmanship, the winning coach decided to give his award to one of the joint top goal scorers. It was a good gesture from Mr. Mdluli, who is also responsible for women development as the Women Football Committee Chairperson under the Mkhondo Local Football Association.

The girls will now go back to playing league football on Saturdays. The tournament has also encouraged the participating clubs to start a senior league in Mkhondo which will probably be joined by new clubs. The football association will be starting the Mkhondo Promotion League for the women division in June this year.

Prize giving postponed due to protest in the final.

The football results of the Easter weekend left football fans shocked and confused when the expected prize giving was promptly postponed after a cup final. This happened at the Mkhondo Easter Challenge final between Shining Stars FC and Total Football United on Monday 10 April 2023 at the Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya in Mkhondo.

The final was an entertaining six goal thriller and feast for Total Football United who thrashed Shining Stars 6-0 in the final. The recently crowned PG Bison Knockout Cup champions continued where they left off with a pressing game plan, forcing opponents to commit errors and scoring early goals. It took them nine (9) minutes to find the back of the net through a header by Qiniso Mdluli. The led 2-0 ten minutes later when striker Sakhamuzi ‘Ghost’ Msibi beat an offside trap to slot home the second goal. The game momentum did not stop or dip until half time, it was pure football entertainment.

The 2nd half began in the same manner as the 1st half, yes Total Football United scored the 3rd goal of the match soon after the restart. The goal was scored by defender Thabiso Sibiya. The skipper capitalized on the unsuspecting Shining Stars defence and found himself one on one with the keeper before putting the ball inside the net. The fourth goal came in the 20th minute of the 2nd half when Qiniso Mdluli completed his brace. Some fans were seen leaving the stadium after the fourth goal. Shining Stars did not stop attacking in the game but their efforts were stopped by on form keeper Kwanele Mavuso.

“A protest has been launched and money paid as per the rules. This forces us to postpone the prize giving until this matter is resolved.”

The match briefly stopped when Shining Stars FC brought on their protest for signing by both team captains. Soon after Total Football United found the 5th goal when left back Nkosinaye Dladla curled the ball with his right foot coming from the left flank, the keeper did not believe it. The 6th and final goal to dim the light for Shining Stars came 5 minutes before full time to end the match 6-0. It was the first final to end with 6 goals for one side in the seven (7) year history of the Mkhondo Easter Challenge tournament in Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo. As it is now history, the game was the first senior division final to have a protest leading to postponement of a prize giving.

Shining Stars player Lindokuhle Ben Buthelezi on the ball closely watched by Musa “Mabhereza” Vilane of Total Football United. Total Football UTD won 6-0 in thee Mkhondo Easter Challenge final played on Monday 10 April 2023 at Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya in Mkhondo.

The celebrations were halted by the protest action lodged by Shining Stars FC. The club alleged that Total Football United used two (2) players that are registered at other leagues.

The players are goalkeeper Kwanele ‘Skwirra’ Mavuso and midfielder Musa ‘Mabhereza’ Vilane. They also alleged that Sakhamuzi ‘Ghost’ Msibi used fraudulent documents to register in the Thandukukhanya Promotion League.

It may not be the first time to witness protest action in a cup final match, but it was the first time that a prize giving had to be postponed. A similar incident happened last year during a Vumbuka Trust Cup Under 15 final match between First Touch Football against Silver Stars FC at Kempville Stadium. Both teams protested against each other for using over aged players. The Mkhondo Local Football Association Disciplinary Committee found both teams to be in violation of the rules. It ruled that the then final score should remain as it was. The prize giving continued, First Touch Football were crowned champions of the division with both clubs handed a warning.

This time around there was no time to get into the boardroom to deal with the case immediately, hence the Mkhondo LFA decided to postpone the prize giving. The DC chair Mr Mduduzi ‘Johnny’ Nkosi asked the clubs to be patient as they deal with the issue. “A protest has been launched and money paid as per the rules. This forces us to postpone the prize giving until this matter is resolved. We will call the club to appear before the DC in due course,” he said.

There has been a lot of debate about the protest with some saying Total Football United won the game convincingly and should be given the trophy. Some have stood with Shining Stars arguing that protests are part of the game. There are also those questioning the use of league rules during tournaments. The debate will probably continue until a decision is made, a decision which will prolong or start a new debate, “kusazokhulunywa’ strong.

Total Football United stamped their authority in the local game: Clean sweep at the PG Bison Knockout Cup

Total Football United stamped their authority in the local game by defending the most sought after PG Bison Knockout Cup title they won last year. The club which is managed by strict disciplinarian coach in Thokozani ‘TK’ Hlatshwayo, defeated Amabhubesi FC 4-1 in the football final on Sunday 26 March 2023. The 2023 edition of the annual PG Bison Knockout Cup tournament was held for the second time on the weekend of 25&26 March 2023 at the Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo.

The tournament featured eight (8) teams in both football teams drawn from the Mkhondo Promotion League under administration of the Mkhondo Local Football Association. Six (6) of the clubs were drawn from the leaders of the Mkhondo Promotion League 2022/23 season. Two other clubs, Arsenal Eagles FC and Khumalo Stars FC played a preliminary round to qualify and be part of the top 8 tournament. The two clubs had qualified through the preliminary round for seven (7) clubs residing near PG Bison to make a total of eight (8) teams.

The 1st quarter final featured tournament debutants Al Ahly FC from Commondale Promotion League against Amabhubesi FC from the Amsterdam Promotion League. The debutants won 5-4 on penalties after the teams were locked 1-1 at full time. The 2nd quarter final was the repeat of the 2022 final between Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Promotion League leaders Kunene FC against Total Football United from Thandukukhanya Promotion League. The defending champions comfortably won 3 nil to move into the semi-finals.

Every club wish to be part of the tournament but only champions or league leaders qualify for the biggest tournament at LFA level.

The 3rd quarter final produced an exciting 3-2 victory by Khumalo Stars FC from Amsterdam Promotion League over Amapansula FC representing Simakade Promotion League. The match produced boardroom drama that ended in the boardroom on Saturday night. The clubs protested against each other accusing each one another of using fraudulent registered players, Phumlani Khanyile for Amapansula and Zweli Ngwenya an unused substitute for Khumalo Stars.

Total Football United defender Ntando Mavuso won player of the tournament at the PG Bison KO Cup 2023 on Sunday 26 March 2023 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo.

The two teams were disqualified by the Mkhondo LFA Disciplinary Committee after they were found guilty of using double registered players. They were replaced by Amabhubesi FC in the semi-finals. In the 4th quarter final Man FC from Sulphur Springs Promotion League appeared for the 1st time in the tournament. They won 2-1 against Thandukukhanya Promotion League side Arsenal Eagles FC to book their place in the semi-finals.

In the semi-finals the defending champions Total Football United made their intentions clear about the cup. They scored two quick goals in the first 10 minutes against tournament debutants Al Ahly FC. The debutants tried to come back with a goal in the 1st half taking the match to 2-1 at half time. After the break Total Football United added two more goals to lead comfortably in the 2nd half by 3 goals to one, before a late goal by Al Ahly to end the match 4-2 at full time. Amabhubesi FC used the second chance to roar louder after the disqualification of Amapansula and Khumalo Stars FC. The lions took the chance with both hands by defeating the other tournament debutants Man FC 3-2 to book their place in the final. They could have scored more goals but their attack was wasteful.

When the final came everyone in the stadium knew that Total Football United would look for an early goal. Amabhubesi FC needed to hold on and not concede early to be safe, but it took captain fantastic Thabiso ‘Tyso’ Sibiya just 5 minutes to score the first goal with a half volley inside the box. Striker Sakhamuzi Msibi added a second goal 4 minutes later. They were already leading 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of the final. Amabhubesi coach Nkosinathi “Mgazi”Hlatshwayo was fuming at the bench. He had previously said he will guard against the early attack of Total Football United. Five minutes later Amabhubesi FC pulled one goal back via a well taken free kick by Sergio. This seem to rejuvenate Amabhubesi as they continued to force an equaliser but Total Football keeper Kwanele Mavuso was on tip top form on goals, allowing none till the end of the 1st half.

Kwanele Mavuso won goalkeeper of the tournament for the 2nd time at the PG Bison KO Cup 2023 held on Sunday 26 March 2023 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo. He is flanked by PG Bison manager Mr. Christo & CLO Mr. Nkosingiphile Hlatshwayo.

The 2nd half began the same way but this time only two goals were scored. Sakhamuzi Msibi took advantage of a loose ball in the box by a sleeping defence to slot his 6th goal of the tournament. The game had just restarted for 5 minutes in the 2nd half, the score already 3-1 to the defending champions.

A few minutes later Amabhubesi committed an unnecessary foul in the opponents half resulting in a free kick. Thabiso Sibiya scooped the ball straight to the goalkeeper’s hands but the keeper failed to do a simple catch of the ball, 4-1 was the score. The game was nonetheless entertaining till the end irrespective of the 4-1 scoresheet. Both sides created and missed chances until it ended 4-1 to eventual champions led by the uncompromising Mr. Thokozani ‘TK’ Hlatshwayo.

They walked away with the trophy, gold medals, two jersey kits and a cool R15 000 cash. The runners up Amabhubesi FC received silver medals, two jersey kits and R10 000. The R5000 cash prize was shared among the two semi-finalists Man FC and Kunene FC who both received R2500. The club also dominated the tournament individual awards, taking all that was on offer on the day. The player of the tournament went to defender Ntando “Spectacular” Mavuso (17). The goalkeeper of the tournament was won by the same player that won it last year, Kwanele “Skwirra” Mavuso. The top goal scorer award went to Sakhamuzi ‘Ghost’ Msibi. The speedy striker netted 2 goals in the final to take up his goal tally to six (6) goals in 3 matches.

Striker Sakhamuzi Msibi won the top goalscorer award at the PG Bison KO Cup 2023 tournament prize giving held on Sunday 26 March 2023 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo. He scored 6 goals in 3 games at the tournament.

It was a great tournament for the clubs involved, besides the cash prizes won by the champions, all participating clubs received playing kits, transported to the games and catered for by PG Bison. The fans at the stadium also received meals and soft drinks for the duration of the tournaments.

Every club wish to be part of the tournament but only champions or league leaders qualify for the biggest tournament at LFA level. There has also been talk about establishing a new Sub LFA in the area of PG Bison operations. If that happens a new league stream will be established to cater for clubs residing at Ajax, New Home, Maphepheni, Rustplaas, Derby, Iswepe &Panbult in the Mkhondo Local Municipality.

Mlilo Combined School live up to their name in netball cup final: Too hot to handle!

The best netball talent was on display at the PG Bison Knockout Cup 2023 tournament at the Kempville Stadium playing court on Saturday 25 March 2023 in Mkhondo. Mlilo Combined School from Rustplaas, won their first trophy while producing breath-taking performances. They lived up to their name -means fire in isiZulu- by playing exciting fast netball which was literally fire to their opponents. They won by 15 to 10 against 2022 runners-up Amadlelo Aluhlaza Secondary in the final. A total of eight schools took part in the tournament featuring mostly secondary schools.

The Mkhondo Netball Association took charge of the netball tournament logistics. They facilitated the draw and fixtures, provided umpires and chose round robin plus knockout as the format of the netball tournament. The games were played in two halves of seven (7) minutes each. The court was in perfect shape. PG Bison paid for the renovation and painting of the playing court surface. The weather was cool with the sun occasionally appearing. The only heat came from the netball court. Mlilo Combined was hot as their name suggest at this year’s netball tournament. They started slowly in Group B against Inqubeko Secondary whom they beat 10-8 in the first match.

Nosipho Vilakazi of Amadlelo Aluhlaza was chosen as the best netball player of the PG Bison KO Cup 2023 at the prize giving was held at Kempville Stadium.

They met Amadlelo Aluhlaza in the second game and won 6-4, it was very close match. In the last group match they faced Kempsiding Combined beating them 12-3. Amadlelo Aluhlaza Secondary finished as runners up to Mlilo Combined in Group B. They won 13-0 against Kempsiding Combined and 12-5 against Inqubeko Secondary.

Group A was dominated by Ndlela Secondary School who were favourites and defending champions. Like Mlilo they won all their Group A matches to qualify for the semi-finals. They walloped Salem Combined 13-0 then beat PR Combined 7-3 and thrashed Ubuhlebuzile Secondary 7-3. They finished on top of group A scoring a total of 29 points in the process.

“As PG Bison we are delighted to be part of this a great tournament where girls showcase their netball talent. We will be here for more years to come if things keep like this.”

The first semi-final pitted defending champions Ndlela Secondary against Amadlelo Aluhlaza Secondary. Amadlelo triumphed over their rivals scoring 8 points to 4, knocking out the defending champions. They owned the tournament favorites tag on the way to the final. The 2022 runners up Ubuhlebuzile Secondary were looking at doing better this year. Unfortunately for them they had to go past the on form Mlilo Combined. The task proved to be too hot to handle for Ubuhlebuzile Secondary as Mlilo Secondary registered 24 against 8 on the scoresheet.

Ncamisile Nxumalo from Mlilo Combined won Best Shooter at the PG Bison KO Cup 2023 Netball prize giving held at Kempville Stadium.

The final between Mlilo Combined vs Amadlelo Aluhlaza produced some of the best netball matches to be seen in Mkhondo. Mlilo was just too hot and well-prepared for this final. Amadlelo Aluhlaza wanted the trophy by all means, they wanted to do better than the 4th place finish last year. The game was an end-to-end match. It was fast and exciting. Mlilo Combined School scored a total of 15 goals to Amadlelo Aluhlaza’s 10 to win the cup for the first time.

The champions walked away with a trophy, gold medals, 2 netball kits and R15 000 cash. The runners up Amadlelo Aluhlaza Secondary received silver medals, 2 netball kits and R10 000 cash. The 3rd place finishers Ndlela Secondary received bronze medals and R5000 cash. There were also individual prizes in the tournament. Ncamisile Nxumalo from Mlilo Combined won Best Shooter of The Tournament. The Defender of The Tournament was won by Palesa Nkambule who is doing grade 11 Amadlelo Aluhlaza Secondary. Grade 11 player pupil Nosipho Vilakazi of Amadlelo Aluhlaza was chosen as the best player of the tournament. It was the best sport tournament with great benefits to the clubs. The game was enjoyed by PG Bison executives and managers who watched the best talent on display from the side-lines of the court.

Palesa Nkambule won best defender at the PG Bison KO Cup 2023 Netball prize giving was held at Kempville Stadium.

The game found itself new fans who vowed that the tournament must continue. One of them was Communications Manager Miss Nombuso Mwelase. She was impressed by the standard of netball played by the girls. She said the girls played to tier netball and suggested that they must play a netball league. “I am really impressed by the way the girls play netball here. They do understand the rules and respect umpires. As PG Bison we are delighted to be part of this great tournament where girls showcase their netball talent. We will be here for more years to come if things keep like this.” she said.

Apart from the prizes won PG Bison also provided transport and brand-new playing attire for all participants. The fans at the stadium were also catered for in terms of food and drinks. There was also a VIP section for PG Bison management including guests. Kids played in jumping castles and received party packs as well. The safety in the stadium was guaranteed by security personnel who made sure intoxicated people were not let inside the stadium. It was a family affair which rewarded everyone, the clubs, players, referees, fans, commentators and community at large. A great contribution to the development of sports.