The 3rd annual Njini Cup draw has been done and dusted with sixteen (16) teams set to participate in the tournament which begins on Saturday 15 June 2019 at Nohhemu Sports Ground, kwaNgema. The annual tournament is in honour of late business man and former owner of Red Lions FC Mr Real "Njini" Mathebula. Mr Mathebula contributed immensely in local football during his time in this world. He assembled one of the best sides to ever represent Mkhondo in the SAB League in the mid 2000s.
The tournament was started by his son and current owner of Red Lions FC Mr Lwazi Mathebula in 2017 with sixteen (16) football teams and six (6) netball teams. Try Again NC were crowned champions of Netball while HiFI FC won the football final defeating Real Madrid FC 3-2. In the 2018 edition Juventus FC defeated the then defending champions HiFi FC 2-1 in the semi finals before winning 4-2 in extra time against Arrows FC in what was dubbed eMatafuleni derby. The 2018 edition did not have netball due lack of participants and will also not be available again this year due to the same unfortunate reasons.
The fan favourite tournament is expected to produce exciting football with both previous champions HiFi FC and Juventus FC available at this year’s tournament. The 2018/19 Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Promotion League champions Kunene FC is also in the tournament but they face a tough Atletico Madrid FC side in the opening match on Saturday morning. They will be followed by Amapansula FC vs Smakade Swallows FC at 11am before traditional rivals Vultures FC take on Juventus FC at 1pm. The last game for day 1 will be Peace Lovers FC vs Real Stars FC.
The games will continue on Sunday morning starting with Multi Bombers FC vs Spurs FC, both teams finished at the bottom of the league this season. Mandela Cross FC vs Killers FC is one of big clashes of this tournament, they will play at 11am. Red Lion FC will follow at 1pm against News Stars FC. The final match on Sunday will be a humdinger of a match featuring the 2017 champions and four time league champions HiFi FC against Peacemakers FC. Peacemakers is known for assembling players from different areas some as far as Ladysmith. They registered more than fifty players with the league this season, fans should expect a different team in this tournament.
The quarter finals will be played on Monday 17 June 2019, a public holiday in the country. The semi finals and final will be played the following weekend on Saturday 22 June 2019. The champions will walk away with a big trophy, gold medals and R5000 cash. The runners up will get a small trophy, silver medals and R2000 cash. The 3rd placed team will receive bronze medals and R1000 cash. It is not easy to predict a winner or favourites for this tournament because the big teams may eliminate each other in the quarter finals. The draw may be in favour of the winner between Peacemakers and HiFi FC match who may go all the way to the finals, kodwa asazi sonke.