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The playoffs season is heating up

The month of May is synonymous with the struggle of the working class in some parts of the world including South Africa which celebrates and have a holiday dedicated to workers on 1 May. In other parts of the world like Russia this day is associated with the birth of the illuminati. In amateur football this month signals the start of Promotional Playoffs for clubs playing league football. It is the ‘struggle’ for promotion to a higher league, be it the Local Promotional Playoffs, the Regional Promotional Playoffs, ABC Motsepe Provincial Playoffs or the Glad Africa Promotional Playoffs.

On Saturday 21 May 2022 six (6) football clubs will do battle for two available spots of the ABC Motsepe League 2022/23 season. The battle will be known as the Mpumalanga Men Regional League Promotional Playoffs set for Kanyamazane Stadium, Mbombela. The playoffs will be contested by clubs coming from the Gert Sibande Region, Nkangala Region and hosts eHlanzeni Region. Each region will be having two clubs.

Clubs that have been working hard at training and at matches get to be rewarded via promotion to the next level. All eyes will be at seasonal campaigners from the Gert Sibande Region Flymingo United FC who have been playing Regional League football since the 2009/10 season. Most clubs that will be part of this season’s playoffs are not that old which makes Flymingo United the oldest club. FC Zone Mavo will be looking at bouncing back to the élite’ league of amateur football after suffering relegation in the 2020/21 season.

This is probably the only time that everybody wish they own or be part of a club playing league football.

Flymingo United will be playing at Group B starting with Happy Dam FC from eHlanzeni Region at 9am followed by Middelburg United FC from Nkangala Region at 12pm. Happy Dam FC will then play Middelburg United FC at 3pm, by then they would know if they get promoted or not.

In Group A Sibange Young Bucks FC from eHlanzeni Region will lock horns with Genaro FC from Nkangala Region at 9am. Genaro FC from Nkangala will play another seasoned campaigners from the Gert Sibande’s FC Zone Mavo at 12pm. The last match of the group will be FC Zone Mavo vs Sibange Young Bucks FC from eHlanzeni at 3pm.

On paper promotion is easy, just win one match and draw one or win both. On the pitch it will be a totally different game influenced by many factors. The most feared factor of the playoffs after muthi use is the bribery of match officials. Let us hope both will not be a factor on Saturday 21 May 2022 at Kanyamazane Stadium. Let Fair Play be the order of the day and may the best teams get promotion. A win or promotion to any club not only brings joy to the football community but also the town which they come from. Promotion to the provincial league comes with sports tourism as different clubs from the province will be visiting every fortnight bringing along supporters to host club town. There is also a chance of getting to the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup, kuningi nje.

Flymingo United FC qualified for the Men Regional League Provincial Playoff after winning Stream B of the Gert Sibande Men Regional League. They will be at the provincial playoffs for the first time in their history looking for promotion to the ABC Motsepe League.

A lot of club owners will ask one question before any other when discussing joining a league at grass root level: “Ngizotholani ngokudlala iLigi?”(What will I get from playing in the League). The response by local football administrators is not always received well more so if money is not mentioned. The same question cannot be found during this time when the season reaches the Promotional Playoffs stage. This is probably the only time that everybody wish they own or be part of a club playing league football.

A win or promotion to any club not only brings joy to the football community but to the town which they come from. Promotion to the provincial league comes with sports tourism as different clubs from the province will be visiting every fortnight bringing along supporters to host club town. There is also a chance of getting to the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup, kuningi nje.

Six finals leave football fanatics gasping for more diski action

Football fanatics of Mkhondo Local Municipality under the Gert Sibande Region of Mpumalanga were left gasping for more football after they were left in awe by six football finals in one day. The multi division finals of the annual football tournament Vumbuka Trust Cup took place on Sunday 21 November 2021 at the revamped Kempville Sport Grounds, Mkhondo. Memories were created, history made, tears shed and records set mirroring those of professional football idolized by young stars the world over.

It was the 8th edition finals of the tournament which first played with a single division way back in August 2013. The inaugural final was won by Comet Riders FC who defeated Madola United FC 3-1 to become the first ever champions. Back then the sponsorship was at R10 000, fifteen (15) promotion league clubs played the inaugural tournament. Many champions have been crowned since then and the sponsorship by Vumbuka Trust has reached a whooping R120 000. Since the beginning the prizes have been football kits, trophies, training equipment, match balls and cash for senior teams. This year’s cup tournament was no different in terms of rewards, also the level of football displayed had all the characteristics of the beautiful game of football found in the whole wide world.

Vumbuka Trust also awarded the winners of the Mkhondo Sub LFAs promotion league divisions who participated in the preliminary rounds. Each Mkhondo Sub LFA was allocated an amount of R10 000.
Atletico Madrid players receiving medals from Vumbuka Trust official Gomotso Mohale at the 9th Vumbuka Trust Cup prize giving held on Sunday 21 November 2021 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo.

The increase in sponsorship allowed the Mkhondo Local Football Association to add all affiliate clubs (68) to participate in the biggest tournament in the region. The senior clubs (Promotion League division) played a preliminary stage of the tournament in their areas before combining as champions in the semi final stages. Atletico Madrid FC from Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA defeated PR Wanderers FC (Thandukukhanya Sub LFA) in the semi final. Sulphur Springs based club Black Lion FC defeated Bayern FC 3-1 (Simakade Sub LFA) to reach the final. Football fanatics will take time to forget the first ever final to produce seven (7) goals. Atletico Madrid FC walloped Black Lion FC 6-1 to clinch the first combined Vumbuka Trust Cup in the Promotion League division. Fanatics at the stadium were treated with kasie flavour moments which left them excited and asking for more diski.

The ladies division began with eleven teams which eliminated each other via knockout. New champions were crowned when Losta Stars Ladies FC finally got their hands on the trophy after years of trying. The SASOL League based side gave a tough lesson to Saul Mkhizeville Ladies with a 6-0 win in the final. The score line may not have been this bad had the Saul Mkhizeville Ladies keeper been on form. Three of the goals were gifts from the keeper which mostly left the fans in stitches.

Losta Stars Ladies FC celebrates winning the Vumbuka Trust Cup 2021 at a prize giving held on Sunday 21 November 2021 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo. Next to them are the Vumbuka Trust officials Miss Prudence Mokoena and Gomotso Mohale handing over their prize winnings.

The under 17 division final was a derby made in Mangosuthu section between Comet Riders and Mara Mara FC. The match was expected to produce fireworks but failed to live up to expectation. Both teams were extra careful in defence which led to a 0-0 score line at full time. Penalties had to decide the winner and under 17 champions. Mara Mara FC won 3-2 on penalties take the under 17 cup for the first time in their history.

Excitement in the boys faces as Mara Mara Under 17 boys celebrates winning the Vumbuka Trust Cup at a prize giving held on Sunday 21 November 2021 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo. Mara Mara won 3-2 on penalties against 2017 champions Comet Riders FC.

The under 15 division boys final was a highly contested affair which ended with a single goal win by Silver Stars FC. The goal was scored early in the 1st half. Silver Stars had to defend throughout the match against a determined First Touch FC. There was drama during the match caused by use of over age players which led to protests. First Touch lodged a protest against Silver Stars for using an over age player but Silver Stars responded with a protest of their own. The Mkhondo LFA disciplinary committee had to sit and discuss the case before the prize giving. The disciplinary committee found both teams guilty of using over age players and the case was thrown out because both teams failed to use a proper team list sheet. The match result was left as it was and the teams fined R100 each. Silver Stars then participated in the prize giving and received their trophy for becoming champions.

The under 15 girls’ division final was playing for the 2nd time in the history of the tournament. The 2021 edition had four teams playing round robin. The top two teams Mkhondo City Stars and Saul Mkhizeville Ladies played in the final. The final was more of a football lesson to newly formed Saul Mkhizeville Ladies club who lost 6-0 in the final against regular participants Mkhondo City Stars (formely known as Hintalo Stars). It was the first time that Saul Mkhizeville Ladies were involved in a big soccer tournament. Beside the big loss the team from Saul Mkhizeville showed signs of brilliance at defence but were overwhelmed by the Mkhondo City Stars girls who are used to playing football.

Mkhondo City Stars under 15 girls lifts the Vumbuka Trust Cup at a prize giving held on Sunday 21 November 2021 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo. The young girls defeated Saul Mkhizeville Ladies 6-0 in the final.

The under 13 boys’ division final was contested by clubs from Eziphunzini section Golden Stars vs Citizen FC. The highly contested affair finished 2-1 to Citizen FC. The match looked to be in favour of Golden Stars who scored first in the 1st half, at the time Citizen FC was playing with one player short. Tables turned when Citizen fielded the additional player. They equalised shortly after the second half before adding the winner in a short space of time to take the lead. Golden Stars pushed with everything hoping to get the equaliser but the Citizen defence stayed solid until the end.

The 2021 winners of Vumbuka Trust Cup received their prizes on the same day of the tournament. All the winners from the development leagues (U13, U15, & U17) received their prizes for becoming champions. The champions received brand new soccer jerseys, a trophy, medals and match balls as prizes for winning the tournament. The runners up received silver medals, training equipment and match balls, no cash prize was issued to the junior teams. The only junior teams that received cash prizes was that of the Under 15 girls division. The champions received R2500 cash, a new soccer kit, gold medals and a trophy. The runners up receive a cool R1500 cash. The cash given to the winners is aimed at encouraging the development coaches to work with young girls. The Vumbuka Trust trustees insisted that girls’ football be given all the support with the aim of getting more girls to play soccer.

Silver Stars under 15 boys were the last to lift the Vumbuka Trust Cup after being involved in a protest action after the final against First Touch FC on Sunday 21 November 2021 at Kempville Stadium, Mkhondo. The club won the cup for the first time in their history.

The champions of the ladies division walked away with R4000 cash, a new kit, gold medals, a trophy and match balls for becoming champions. The runners up received R3000 cash, a soccer kit, silver medals and match balls. The men division received the same prizes as that of the ladies except that the champions in men received R5000. The runners up received R3000, a junior kit, silver medals and match balls. The cash prizes were the same as that of the ladies with just a R1000 difference, something that the trustees of Vumbuka Trust have been advocating to the Mkhondo LFA on behalf of ladies football.

Vumbuka Trust also awarded the winners of the Mkhondo Sub LFAs promotion league divisions who participated in the preliminary rounds. Each Mkhondo Sub LFA was allocated an amount of R10 000 which was divided to make up the prizes for the five (5) Sub LFA tournaments. The Sub LFA winners were as follows:

  • Amsterdam Sub LFA

1st Arsenal FC (Champs) – R5 000; 2nd: Mswenkofontein FC – R3 000; 3rd: Amabhubesi FC – R1000

  • Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA

1st Atletico Madrid FC – R5 000; 2nd Mandela Cross FC – R3000; 3rd HiFi FC – R1 000

  • Simakade Sub LFA

1st Bayern FC – R5 000; 2nd Juventus FC – R3 000; 3rd Amapansula FC – R1 000

  • Siyethemba Sub LFA – Black Lion FC

1st Black Lion FC – R5 000; 2nd SS Madrid FC – R3 000; 3rd Man FC – R1 000

  • Thandukukhanya Sub LFA

1st PR Wanderers FC – R5 000; 2nd Ajax Sweepers FC – R3 000; 3rd India Kilo FC – R 1000

Netball claims number 2 spot as most played sport in the region

Netball has rightfully claimed the number two (2) spot as the 2nd most played sport in the Mkhondo Local Municipality area jurisdiction. This was evidenced at the Mkhondo Netball League championship finale held at Thokozani Sport Centre, Thandukukhanya on Saturday 9 October 2021.

The netball governing body Mkhondo Netball Association made history with the record number of teams and matches that played in their 2021 calendar year. Apart from the occasional tournaments during the year, a total of 25 teams participated in the first ever Mkhondo Netball League which began at kwaNgema Trust, Mkhondo in May this year. The perseverance by members of the Mkhondo Netball Association paid off in a manner they themselves did not see coming. The league was launched with 10 teams but interest from other teams quickly grew the number of teams to 25. This led the association restart the league and introduce streams. Teams were divided into three streams/groups (A, B&C). The league matches were played at different venues including Lindelani Playing Courts at Saul Mkhizeville; Emoyeni Stadium, Amsterdam; Nohhemu Sport Grounds, Ngema Trust and at Thokozani Sport Centre in Thandukukhanya.

Rockstars Netball Club won the Stream ‘A’ championship which was made of the strongest teams including three male teams playing exhibition matches in the same group as the ladies. The champions defeated Black Mountain NC in the battle for first place while the 3rs place position was occupied by Commondale NC finished at 3rd place. At Stream B Troublemakers from Iswepe were crowned champions with 3rd place going to Libhaba NC from Commondale. The stream (C) containing the future of Mkhondo netball was won by DP Young Stars NC from Ajax. The runners up Real Stars NC also came from Ajax. The 3rd place position was occupied by the Commondale B team.

“As long as you continue playing beautiful like this the municipality will support all your activities,”

Mkhondo Netball League action from the final games held on Saturday 9 October 2021 at Thokozani Sport Center, Thandukhanya. Some matches were played by both male and females to assist with male teams development.

The prize giving was held immediately after the final matches. The office of executive Mayor of Mkhondo Hon. Cllr. Vusi Motha supported the games by providing the prizes which included playing attire, match balls, training equipment, trophies and medals.

The three male teams (Mkhondo, Libhaba & Commondale) played a supporting role at Stream A but were not included in the prize ceremony since they are still at development stage according to the organisers.

The association through the Chairperson Mr Sibonelo Shiba said they hope to have more male teams when the league resumes again next year. “We want to build on the success of our 2021 season and improve where we lack especially the male teams. We want to spread the netball league to faraway places of Mkhondo. Our challenge will be transport costs but we hope that other stakeholders will join the municipality to sponsor the league,” he said.

Biggest Cup Competition in the Region grows bigger

The much loved soccer tournament of all age groups (U13, U15, U17 & U19)has made a huge return this year after the unfortunate one year break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 8th edition of Vumbuka Trust Cup began on Saturday 02 October 2021 with participating clubs from Thandukukhanya Sub Local Football Association.

The biggest tournament in the Gert Sibande Region got bigger with the addition of all clubs affiliated to the Mkhondo Local Football Association. The 2021 edition include teams from outside of Thandukukhanya Sub LFA for the first time in the tournament 7 year history. It is for the first time this year that Vumbuka Trust Cup will include clubs from Amsterdam Sub LFA, Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA and the newly established Simakade Sub LFA which recently separated from Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA. It will still feature the usual six (6) divisions (U13, U15 Boys & Girls, U17 boys, Ladies and Men senior division teams).

The tournament is used by the Mkhondo Local Football Association to give away playing kits, match balls and other football equipment to their affiliated clubs.

The addition of the Sub LFAs effectively doubled the amount of sponsorship from R60000 in the 2019 edition to a whooping R120 000 for the current season. The extra cash was included to accomodate Vumbuka Trust Cup preliminary round of matches where each Sub LFA will play a knockout round with the winner qualifying for the main finals on 31 October 2021. Each Sub LFA has been allocated a budget of R10000 for prizes to be won after the preliminaries. The winner in each Sub LFA will join other winners in the semi finals stage of the tournament set for Saturday 30 October 2021. The 2021 edition of Vumbuka Trust Cup will be played without Saul Mkhizeville, Sinethemba and Siyethemba Sub LFAs. The three (3) Sub LFAs have not registered with the Mkhondo LFA for the new 2021/2022 season, as a result their clubs do not have the required playing cards to participate in the tournament.

Vumbuka Trust Cup under 15 round 2 match between First Touch FC vs Mara Mara FC. First Touch won 2-0 in an exciting round 2 match played at Masenkeni Stadium, Thandukukhanya on Saturday 23 October 2021.

A meeting and draw for the ladies divisions is set for Monday 16 October 2021 at 5pm at Masenkeni Stadium, Thandukukhanya with the kickoff date set for Saturday 23 October 2021. All ladies clubs based at the Mkhondo Local Municipality area jurisdiction are allowed to enter the competition. There are two divisions for women football i. e. Under 15 girls and senior ladies (open).

The overall winners of the tournament will receive a trophy, gold medals and cash prizes for winning the preliminary round. The main tournament champions will receive a trophy, new kit, match balls and cash on all six (6) divisions.

The runners up will receive silver medals, training equipment, match balls and cash. The tournament is used by the Mkhondo LFA to give away playing kits, match balls and other football equipment to their affiliated clubs. The games continue this weekend with the quarter finals in the Under 17 and Promotion League divisions. The under 13 & under 15 semi finals are set for 23 October 2021 followed by the preliminary finals on Sunday 24 October 2021. Amsterdam, Ngema-Dirkiesdorp and Simakade Sub LFAs will begin playing their preliminaries this weekend on 16&17 October 2021.