Amapansula brought joy and jubilation to the people of Endalini Village when they grabbed the 3rd edition of Njini Tournament at the hands of Red Lion FC on Sunday 23 June 2019 at Nohhemu Sports Ground, kwaNgema, Mkhondo Local Municipality. Amapansula FC came from a goal down to win the biggest cup competition under Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA sending the people of Endalini, a rural village situated 20km outside the Mkhondo CBD, to wild celebrations and dance.
The final was entertaining with both players enjoying the ball by keeping it on the ground. The action was mostly in the middle of the park. Both defences were tight at the back in the first half resulting in a 0-0 score line at half time. The game came alive in the 2nd half when the underdogs Red lion FC opened the score sheet through Sthembiso Mhlongo in the 73rd minute. He received a pass alone at the edge of the box and shot the ball between the legs of the advancing Amapansula keeper sending Red Lions into wild celebrations.
Amapansula started pushing hungry for a goal with Sifiso 'Chicken' Mthethwa leading the attack. The equaliser came just after three (3) minutes of the first gaol via Siyabonga “14” Magagula sending Amapansula fans into wild celebrations. Amapansula pushed for the 2nd goal attacking non-stop until they got a free kick at the edge of the box.
"The Njini Tournament is not an easy cup to win and very difficult to defend. We know that a new champion will be crowned next year because it is not winnable for the 2nd time."
Industrial player Chicken Mthethwa took one of his trademark free kicks to score past a helpless Mlwane on goals. It was the 3rd goal in 9 minutes with all goals coming at 3 minute intervals. The fans went raving in celebration of the beautifully taken free kick. Red Lion players were very tired to force a comeback against the more determined Amapansula. The match ended 2-1 to the club from eNdalini, winning the cup tournament for the 1st time joining HiFi FC and Juventus FC as the only other winners of this glorious rural tournament.
Mr Sakhi Zwane the deputy Secretary of Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA said the new champions should keep the floating trophy in a good state for the next champions. "The Njini Tournament is not an easy cup to win and very difficult to defend. We know that a new champion will be crowned next year because it is not winnable for a 2nd time," he said jokingly.
The prize giving commenced after the games at 5pm with the presence of the Mathebula family to give out the medals and trophies. They were delighted to partake in the prize giving ceremony of the ‘divine’ tournament held under their father's name. The first winner to be called out was Ntando, the youngest player to play in the tournament. He was given the award for being the Youngest Player to play in the 2019 edition. The goalkeeper of the tournament was won by Bongani Simelane of Vultures FC. His team lost on penalties in the semi-final against eventual champions Amapansula FC.
Sabelo Zwane of Amapansula FC who plays goalkeeper as his normal position won the defender of the tournament. The deputy secretary Mr Zwane who was playing a role of MC in the prize giving praised the defender. "Sabelo was chosen as defender of the tournament for his selfless play for his club. He played as a defender even though we all know him as a goalkeeper. He helped his team defend during regulation time and took the goalkeeping position whenever they reached penalties," he said to a loud applause. Veteran player Charcky Mntambo won the midfielder of the tournament for exploits for his club Mandela Cross FC. He guided his young club Mandela Cross to 3rd place position.
Sifiso ‘Chicken’ Mthethwa of Amapansula got an award for Top goal scorer having scored 3 goals in the tournament. It was a great tournament for the player who is known as a defender but played striker in the duration of the games. Amapansula also received another trophy when Coach Mandla Zwane won coach of the tournament. The runners up Red Lions FC featured twice in the prize giving, first as silver medallists’ and the player of the tournament award going to clean tackling defender Sweswe.
The teams received their prizes after the crowning of individual players. The 2019 Njini Tournament champions walked away with gold medals, a big floating trophy and R5000 cool cash. After several attempts which all ended in the first round loss for Red Lions FC, history was made when the club-founded by the late Mr Njini Mathebula- reached the finals for the first time. The club received a small trophy, silver medals and R2000 cash. The 3rd place went to Mandela Cross FC who won 3-1 against Vultures FC in the 3rd place playoff. They received bronze medals and R1000 cash. The cash will come as a boost to the clubs ahead of the 2019/20 season of Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Promotion League which begins next month.