Graduates of SAFA development leagues get own cup tournament

Football News

The Mkhondo LFA has come up with a new cup tournament specifically designed for the graduates of the development league. The knockout tournament will be known as iNtokozo Under 19 Cup to be played on 01,02&08 December 2018 as part of the 6th edition of the annual Mkhondo Diski Festival. It is open to all clubs playing at any SAFA Promotion League that can be able to visit and play in Mkhondo.

The tournament is a brain child of Mr Ntokozo Simelane the general secretary Mkhondo Local Football Association which is the football controlling body in Mkhondo Local Municipality. The age restriction has been set for players born on or after 01 January 1999. Mr Simelane said he was approached by a friend who suggested that he establish his own tournament for the juniors three (3) years ago. “I was with Sboniso a friend of mine the other day when he was impressed by the young players during matches of the development league. He suggested I start a tournament in my name and ask for donations from friends because we struggling in getting local business to assist. It took me almost three years to decide,” said Mr Simelane.

“We want to make this a premier amateur tournament where professional clubs will send their scouts to look for players. We want to shine the light for these kids.”

Ntokozo Simelane has been in charge of football development in Mkhondo Local Municipality since 2014. iNtokozo U/19 Cup will showcase the work that has been done by him and the Mkhondo LFA in football development.

He chose to go with the under 19 division for the tournament to honour all the players that began playing Mkhondo Development League in the year 2014. “We began the junior league with the under 13& u/15 league before adding the under 17s the following year. This was after the FIFA World Cup 2010 Legacy Trust funding came through and we were tasked with establishing a development league that will help produce players as part of SAFA Vision 2022. We began with under 13 and under 15 divisions before adding the under 17 division the following year,” said Mr Ntokozo Simelane. The general secretary has been working hard in making sure clubs play without problems every Saturday in the league since its inception.

Thandukukhanya Junior League plays regularly in Mkhondo. Seen here is a recent under 13 match between Shining Stars FC (gold) vs Amaselesele FC (green) which played on Friday 06 July 2018 at Masenkeni Stadium, Thandukukhanya. The three (3) league divisions all had fourteen teams (14) competing in the league.

This new tournament has a potential of opening doors for talented players by giving them exposure to the hundreds of fans expected to grace the matches. There are plans of inviting professional scouts to come watch the games in future. Ntokozo said he is not looking at inviting scouts in the first tournament but will certainly invite them in the next edition of the tournament. “We want to make this a premier amateur tournament where professional clubs will send their scouts to look for players. We want to shine the light for these kids.”

The champions will walk away with a floating trophy, gold medals, a full playing kit plus cash. The 2nd place and 3rd place teams will also receive prizes such as medals, match balls and cash. The organiser Mr Ntokozo Simelane is very serious about the tournament he even sent out a public request of donations to make the tournament successful. He has also asked close friends to assist where they can to make this event possible. For people who like to donate prizes or any other material to make the games possible can contact Mr Ntokozo Simelane via Email at smekza@live.com or call +2782 417 4055. Kusazoba Lit.

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