A record number of football clubs have entered to play in Thandukukhanya Junior League division for the 2019 season which begins this weekend on Saturday 09 February 2019 at Masenkeni Stadium, Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo. The league which has been active since 2014 grew to 52 teams divided into three age-group divisions. The under 13 & 15 divisions have eighteen (18) teams each with the under 17s having sixteen teams.
The development league clubs were invited to a meeting at Masenkeni Stadium on the 28th January 2019 where the partcipating clubs were confirmed. The clubs did not pay a joining fee to play in the league but had to complete a club registration form and submit players’ registration forms to be allowed to compete. The under 13 division grew from 14 to 18 teams with the addition of Goodwill Promising FC, Hintalo FC, Hawks FC and the revival of old club Young Zebras FC.
““The under 13 & under 15 divisions will play together on Saturdays playing twice a month. The under 17s will also play on Saturdays but separate from the other two divisions because we cannot play all divisions at once due to lack of closer playing venues.”
The under 15 division proves to be the most popular for beginners with seven (7) new clubs: Ajax Sweepers FC, Amapansula FC, FC Commondale, Greenfield Rangers FC, Junior United FC and Thandolokukhanya FC entered the league for the first time. There was disappointment in the under 15 division when two (2) teams that participated last season found themselves out of the league due to late submission of registration documents. Silver Stars FC and PR Wanderers also failed to confirm their participation at the league plenary meeting. In the under 17s PR Wanderers FC and Silver Stars FC will be making a debut in this division. Tiger Boys FC and Glamour Boys FC have returned to play the development league.
The league fixture will end in November 2019 before the start of school examinations provided that there will be no matches getting postponed during the season. This has been an issue that the Mkhondo LFA development league coordinator Mr Ntokozo Simelane has failed to master.
“The under 13 & under 15 divisions will play together on Saturdays playing twice a month. The under 17s will also play on Saturdays but separate from the other two divisions because we cannot play all divisions at once due to lack of closer playing venues. The grounds are very far from each other which makes it difficult to play all divisions in one day. This makes our league season to be longer finishing in November,” said the league coordinator and Mkhondo LFA secretary Mr Ntokozo Simelane. He also told us that apart from postponed matches there is also mid year tournaments that still need to be played which will add to the problem. “We also have tournaments like Build It u/13 KO Cup, National Science Week u/15 Cup, Vumbuka Trust Cup for all divisions and Mkhondo Festive Cup for the under 17s that will take a lot of playing days this year,” he said.