Dondonald a small rural village in the Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality will have an SAB League team for the first time when the new season kick off in August this year. This after Barcelona FC played their hearts out to win the Gert Sibande Promotion League championship at the playoffs held at AJ Swanepoel Stadium, Ermelo on Sunday 08 June 2019. The club from Dondonald came into the playoffs with a pre-determined score line (2-1) for all their matches in stream B.
Barcelona played the first game against Kunene FC from Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Promotion League in Mkhondo. Kunene FC scored first taking the game to half time leading 1-0. Barcelona FC came back late in the 2nd half to equalize and score the winner in the dying minutes of the game to win the match 2-1. In the other stream B match Breyten Stars FC from Msukaligwa Promotion League won 5-0 against Flying Stars FC from Sinethemba Promotion League in Mkhondo to book a place in the SAB League stream B along with Barcelona FC. The two sides Barcelona FC and Breyten Stars met in the semi final. Again Barcelona FC came from a goal down to win 2-1 in the dying minutes of the match.
“I am happy to join the SAB League because the other teams will no longer be able to steal my players as it was always the case in Breyten.”
In stream A the first game was between Freelance FC from Lekwa Promotion League and Khari Khafu of Dipaliseng Promotion League in Balfour. Freelance won the match 3-2 to 2 to book a place in the SAB League 2019/20 season. The 2nd match in stream A was between Hunters FC from Pixley ka Isaka Seme Promotion League against Friday 13th FC from Bethal who were representing Govern Mbeki LFA. Hunters FC easily qualified for the SAB League with a 5-2 win. The boys from Morgenzon, Freelance FC defeated Hunters FC 3-1 in the semi final to book a place in the main final against Stream B team Barcelona FC.
Before the main final the two teams that lost in the semi finals met for the 3rd prize. Breyten Stars FC won 1-0 against Hunters FC to finish in 3rd place. Breyten Stars played under the tutelage of Doctor "Skhulu" Mnisi, a force in local football development in the Region. “I am happy to join the SAB League because the other teams will no longer be able to steal my players as it was always the case in Breyten,” he said with a smile. The final match to determine the overall winner and champions of the Gert Sibande District Municipality Promotional Playoffs was between Freelance FC of Morgenzon against Barcelona FC of Dondonald. Both areas where the teams are from had no clubs playing in the SAB League for years let alone being in the regional final. The winner of the final was guaranteed to make history for their towns and LFAs.The exciting final match between Freelance FC vs Barcelona FC was watched by a sizeable crowd who was enjoying the warm winter sun.
The final was played at ground B instead of the main stadium due to the cold weather. Freelance FC started with high pace attacking from the start. It was no surprise when they opened the scoring through striker Mthobisi Vilakazi in the 10th minute of the 1st half. Barcelona FC players who were not convincing on their play before the goal but suddenly woke up. They got the equaliser just before half time to take the game to 1-1 at half time. The game quickly reached half time whilst it was still entertaining. The 2nd half began at a slow pace with both teams scared to attack choosing to play safe. Barcelona FC received a penalty towards the end of the game which was they converted to win the match 2-1. It was the same score line as the other matches.
Barcelona FC became the 2019 Gert Sibande District Municipality Promotional League champions which was a first for a team from Chief Albert Luthuli LFA. The win by Barcelona FC will motivate other teams from Dondonald to continue to play league football. The area just had their 3rd season of playing league football having started in the 2016/17 season to play league football. As for the 2-1 score line their coach denied getting help from divine sources and said it was just hard work.
The champions walked away with the champion’s trophy, gold medals, and a new kit and R10000 cash. The runners up Freelance FC received silver medals, a new kit and R6000 cash. The 3rd placed team was Breyten Stars FC who received bronze medals and R4000 cash. The 4th placed side Hunters FC received R2000 cash and all other participating clubs received a brand new kit for participating at this year’s promotional playoffs. The playoffs were proudly sponsored by the Gert Sibande District Municipality of Mpumalanga. It was lit.