The new 2019 season of Thandukukhanya Junior League will begin with no guarantee of prizes for the winners of the league when it ends in November this year. The terrible news were relayed by the Mkhondo LFA Secretary and coordinator of the Mkhondo Development League Mr Ntokozo Simelane at a meeting of clubs on Monday 28 Janury 2019 at Masenkeni Stadium, Thandukukhanya in Mkhondo.
The participating clubs were disappointed by the bad news but were understanding of the situation. It is not clear the real reason behind the non-availability of the prizes and whether there will be prizes at all for the new 2019 season set to begin on 09 February 2019. The Mkhondo LFA Development League Coordinator Mr Ntokozo Simelane explained the problem to the clubs at the plenary meeting for the 2019 league season. He said, “We did not get the prizes from SAFA due to the financial problems the association is facing with the SABC and we happen to rely on the mother body. Maybe its time we get assistance from local business.”
SAFA has been in the news recently regarding the money owed to it by the South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) for TV rights which has crippled the association finances. That is what we have been told when enquiring about the prizes.” Mr Simelane told the winners of the 2018 season that the Mkhondo LFA will dig into their pockets to provide the 2018 prizes. “We will also be looking for sponsors for possible assistance with this year’s prizes for the league. We can guarantee the vailability of trophies and medals at the end of the season but other prizes will depend on us getting sponsorship,” he said.
Mkhondo Development League under 17 trophy was donated by Mr Lindani Vundla. The trophy was awarded to the first champions of the under 17 division Citizen FC on 14 November 2015 at Masenkeni Stadium.
South African Football Association (SAFA) introduced and implemented the SAFA Vision 2022 project. This project aimed at discovering and developing talented footballers for the national team Bafana Bafana. To encourage participation of teams SAFA provided prizes for end of season prize giving for clubs that do well in their respective leagues. The prizes included training equipment, match balls, training bibs, trophies and medals which were bought using the FIFA WC 2010 Leagacy Trust Fund which Local Associations (LFAs) had to apply for to access. The standard of the prizes started to drop in the year 2018 which followed with no prizes
at all for Thandukukhanya Junior League. It is not clear whether the football governing body is still sticking to the vision and goals of reaching a high ranking in internatioonal football after the team failed to reach the semi finals of 2017 African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) and qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Bafana Bafana need a win in their last qualifying game away at Libya to qualify for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt. The junior teams have played well and qualified for the junior AFCON tournaments but the players have not been seen in the senior team, still no sign of the identified talent from the junior leagues all over the country.