The first of many festive football tournaments in the Mkhondo Local Municipality which began last weekend is now in the quarter final stages. iNtokozo Under 19 Cup, the age-group themed tournament began on Saturday 30 & Sunday 1 December 2019 with sixteen (16) clubs at Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya . This year’s tournament has been themed as ‘Ünyaka wama 2000’ since the majority of players taking part were born on or after the dawn of the millennium.
The first round of matches featured mouthwatering clashes one of whom was the repeat of the 2018 final between eventual champions Total Football United FC and runners-up Citizen FC. The rivalry between the two teams was on display before kick-off with both teams verbally clashing due to playing cards. The issue at hand was the fielding of players without IDs by Total Football United FC and fielding of a Future Stars FC player by Citizen FC which was against the rules. Both teams protested against each other leading to a 15 minute delay to the start of the match. The match eventually started and it ended 1-1 at full time without any further problems on the field. The match had to be decided on penalties where Total Football United FC emerged as 4-2 winners.
The founders of the tournament hope that it will open doors for young stars to be scouted by higher division and professional teams. They have future plans of inviting professional scouts to watch and look for talent as the tournament grows in stature.
Other big guns that bit the dust was Ajax Sweepers FC who lost 4-3 on penalties to Comet Riders FC, PR Barcelona FC also lost 4-2 on penalties to Mara Mara FC. Two clubs lost without a single kick of the ball after they were disqualified from the tournament. Losta Stars FC and Brazilians FC players came to their respective fixtures against Future Stars FC and Junior United Brothers without their smart ID cards as per the rules of the competition. This meant a free pass to the quarter finals for Future Stars FC and Junior United Brothers FC.
The quarter finals will begin with the repeat of last year’s semi-final match between Total Football United FC vs Comet Riders FC which was won by Total Football United by 2 goals to one. The two rivals will meet very early in the morning of Saturday 07 December 2019. They will be followed by the children of Izakhamuzi Citizen FC aptly named Future Stars FC against Bayern Munich FC. Last year’s 3rd placed team PR Wanderers FC will follow against tournament debutants Hintalo FC. The last quarter final match will be feature another tournament debutant Mara Mara FC against last year’s quarter finalists Junior United Brothers FC.
The semifinals will be played on the morning of Sunday 08 December 2019 to be followed by a curtain raiser match of local legends Seven Stars FC playing against the Mkhondo Coaches. The final is set to play at 3pm at Mandla Magudulela Stadium, Thandukukhanya. The champions will walk away with a brand new soccer kit, a trophy, gold medals and a cool R5000 cash. The runners up will receive silver medals, training equipment and R2000 cash while the 3rd placed team will receive bronze medals and a R1000 cash.
The tournament is an initiative of Mr. Ntokozo Simelane which he founded with his cousin Mr. Njabulo Thomo and friend Mr. Sboniso Mhlanga. The three gentlemen are funding the tournament out of their own pockets and with assistance from the Mkhondo Local Municipality executive mayor Hon. Cllr. Vusi ‘Sgemegeme’ Motha and NBM Marketing. The founders of the tournament hope that it will open doors for the young stars to be scouted by higher division and professional teams. They have future plans of inviting professional scouts to watch and look for talent as the tournament grows in stature.