One of the oldest football clubs in Mkhondo has split for the first time in its history since it was first established in the late 50s. The split of Thandukukhanya Promotion League 2016/17 champions United Brothers FC popularly known as Amacaphuna has given birth to a new club at Nkonjaneni a location just 8km outside Mkhondo CBD. The club which won the 2017 playoffs to become the overall Mkhondo Promotion League champions parted ways with coach and former owner Mr Themba “Kisky” Kunene who has now formed his own club, Junior United FC.
United Brothers FC is now under a leadership of an interim board of directors led by Mr Andile Hadebe, Mthokozisi Khumalo and Mthokozisi Simelane. Mr Themba “Kisky” Kunene lost power of the club after former players allegedly conspired with senior players to topple Mr Kunene. A power struggle had been going on for years at the club but was more intensified in the past two seasons. The former players of the club started mobilising against Kisky towards the end of the 2016/17 season after he hired Mr Sibusiso “Carlos” Ndlovu to coach the club during the 2017 Mkhondo Promotional Playoffs.
“I was accused of hiring a coach from the location. This was after I realised that the club needed somebody with better knowledge of coaching than myself at that time you see.”
According to Mr Kunene some of the supporters and former players of the club wanted him out of the team and were jealous of his success with the club. “I was accused of hiring a coach from the location by some of the club supporters and former players. This was after I realised that the club needed somebody with better knowledge of coaching than myself at that time you see.” Mr Kunene who was then Owner/coach of the club had led the team to top position in the league and qualified the club for the playoffs before hiring Mr Ndlovu. The club won the playoffs defeating Total Football United FC 3-2 in the final. They then lost in the Gert Sibande Regional Playoffs a month later which meant another season in the promotion league.
“We won many tournaments at Magudulela Stadium but did not get anything as players. We had only one braai after winning back to back tournaments during the December games,”
The club registered late in the beginning of the 2017/18 season due to internal problems with senior players. The then club owner/coach Mr. Kunene registered the club and introduced young boys to the team. The new team gelled very well with a couple of other senior players who later joined the team where they finished 2nd in Thandukukhanya Promotion League stream A to eventual champions PR Wanderers FC.
“This is not Kisky’s team, it belongs to us the community of Nkonjaneni,”
“The players were influenced against me after seeing the club winning trophies and the league. I took the club from the same people who enjoyed watching the team playing in the bundus without league football. They thought I would fail but instead revived football at Nkonjaneni.” The club supporters and some of the players who are against Mr Kunene accused him of being a dictator and eating the team’s money. “We won many tournaments at Magudulela Stadium but did not get anything as players. We had only one braai after winning back to back tournaments during the December games,” one player said. He said they are willing to give other people a chance to lead the team because, “This is not Kisky’s team, it belongs to us the community of Nkonjaneni,” said a voice coming from some fans of United Brothers FC. The end of the 2017/18 season was the final season in the marriage between Mr Themba “Kisky” Kunene and United Brothers FC. United Brothers FC is now back into the hands of the supporters and former players who have been very careful not to show themselves in public.
There were initial fears that the newowners/management of the club will remove the club from playing league football and back to the bundus playing for goats. The club is registered playing under the Mkhondo LFA and currently involved in Vumbuka Trust Cup 2018. A new rivalry has been established after the split. We are eagerly awaiting to see if the new club Junior United FC will be included in stream A where United Brothers FC is competing, or stream B of Thandukukhanya Promotion League. For now the clubs are both involved in the last 16 of Vumbuka Trust Cup 2018. Junior United FC will play 2016 Vumbuka Trust Cup champions PR Wanderers FC also on Saturday at 1pm at Kwantombazana Ground, Thandukukhanya. United Brothers FC will play defending champions Dube United FC on Saturday 3pm at Masenkeni Stadium.