The six months long forced break caused by the Corona aka Covid-19 pandemic which took control of the world in March 2020 leading to cancellation of sporting activities is now over. The Mzansi government has given green light for grassroots/amateur football to resume under level 1 of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the South African Football Association (SAFA) announced through their website www.safa.net on Monday 12 October 2020. This comes after a six months long forced break caused by the Corona pandemic which took control of the world in March 2020.
The ABC Motsepe League which is the 3rd division of SA football will not continue with remaining league matches instead the clubs in position one of the current log standings will go straight to the playoffs. There will be no relegation of teams from the ABC Motsepe League 2019/20 season which will probably result in an increase of teams to eighteen (18) for the 2020/21 season. The draw for the Provincial Playoffs is set to take place at SAFA House on Thursday 15 October 2020. The ABC Motsepe League in Mpumalanga had eight (8) matches left to play with FC Mpumalanga United sitting on top with 45 points followed by Barberton City Stars FC with 42 points and Tjakastaad Junior Shepard in 3rd place with 40 points. FC Mpumalanga United will represent Mpumalanga at the playoffs where the top two finalist will qualify to play at Glad-Africa Championship next season. The other provincial winners going into the draw on Thursday are: Bizana Pondo Chiefs FC (Eastern Cape), Mangaung United FC (Free State), Pretoria Callies FC (Gauteng), Umvoti FC (KwaZulu-Natal), Mikhado FC (Limpopo), Polokwane City Rovers FC (North West), Hungry Lions FC (Northen Cape) and Zizwe United FC (Western Cape).
“We are still waiting for SAFA National Executive to give us direction. We do not follow or trust news on social media so we will have to wait,”
The news have also been welcomed with excitement by the amateur clubs playing in the SAB League and Promotion League at LFA level. The news came as a relief to clubs and administrators of the lower leagues who were worried the leagues may be declared null and void leading to financial losses. However it is still not clear when will the league resume in the Gert Sibande Region of Mpumalanga. The Regional Executive Officer of the Gert Sibande Football Association could not confirm if there will be resumption of football activities anytime soon in the region. Miss Nomvula Dladla could also not confirm the news about government giving green light for football activities to resume even though it was reported by SAFA on its website. “We are still waiting for SAFA National Executive to give us direction. We do not follow or trust news on social media so we will have to wait,” said the tough talking administrator.
If football resumes clubs from the Gert Sibande Region will have to take decisions on whether to continue with remaining matches or go straight to the LFA Promotional Playoffs. The Region has seven (7) Local Football Associations (LFAs) that are expected to take part at the Promotional Playoffs where winning teams will qualify to play in the SAB Regional League next season. The Gert Sibande Football Association will also have to give direction and show leadership in terms of playing the SAB Regional League Playoffs to decide which teams will join the ABC Motsepe League 2020/21 season.
In the SAFA website the football controlling body reported that the resumption of play came with conditions as set out by the government. The return of football is subject to adhering to the following rules:
- The appointment of a Compliance Officer per club
- Daily screening of Covid-19 symptoms by clubs
- Observe the Covid-19 social distancing rules
- Sanitization and regular washing of hands
- Wearing of masks at all times, except when in a training session or match by players.