Football fanatics of Mkhondo Local Municipality under the Gert Sibande Region of Mpumalanga were left gasping for more football after they were left in awe by six football finals in one day. The multi division finals of the annual football tournament Vumbuka Trust Cup took place on Sunday 21 November 2021 at the revamped Kempville Sport Grounds, Mkhondo. Memories were created, history made, tears shed and records set mirroring those of professional football idolized by young stars the world over.
It was the 8th edition finals of the tournament which first played with a single division way back in August 2013. The inaugural final was won by Comet Riders FC who defeated Madola United FC 3-1 to become the first ever champions. Back then the sponsorship was at R10 000, fifteen (15) promotion league clubs played the inaugural tournament. Many champions have been crowned since then and the sponsorship by Vumbuka Trust has reached a whooping R120 000. Since the beginning the prizes have been football kits, trophies, training equipment, match balls and cash for senior teams. This year’s cup tournament was no different in terms of rewards, also the level of football displayed had all the characteristics of the beautiful game of football found in the whole wide world.
Vumbuka Trust also awarded the winners of the Mkhondo Sub LFAs promotion league divisions who participated in the preliminary rounds. Each Mkhondo Sub LFA was allocated an amount of R10 000.
The increase in sponsorship allowed the Mkhondo Local Football Association to add all affiliate clubs (68) to participate in the biggest tournament in the region. The senior clubs (Promotion League division) played a preliminary stage of the tournament in their areas before combining as champions in the semi final stages. Atletico Madrid FC from Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA defeated PR Wanderers FC (Thandukukhanya Sub LFA) in the semi final. Sulphur Springs based club Black Lion FC defeated Bayern FC 3-1 (Simakade Sub LFA) to reach the final. Football fanatics will take time to forget the first ever final to produce seven (7) goals. Atletico Madrid FC walloped Black Lion FC 6-1 to clinch the first combined Vumbuka Trust Cup in the Promotion League division. Fanatics at the stadium were treated with kasie flavour moments which left them excited and asking for more diski.
The ladies division began with eleven teams which eliminated each other via knockout. New champions were crowned when Losta Stars Ladies FC finally got their hands on the trophy after years of trying. The SASOL League based side gave a tough lesson to Saul Mkhizeville Ladies with a 6-0 win in the final. The score line may not have been this bad had the Saul Mkhizeville Ladies keeper been on form. Three of the goals were gifts from the keeper which mostly left the fans in stitches.
The under 17 division final was a derby made in Mangosuthu section between Comet Riders and Mara Mara FC. The match was expected to produce fireworks but failed to live up to expectation. Both teams were extra careful in defence which led to a 0-0 score line at full time. Penalties had to decide the winner and under 17 champions. Mara Mara FC won 3-2 on penalties take the under 17 cup for the first time in their history.
The under 15 division boys final was a highly contested affair which ended with a single goal win by Silver Stars FC. The goal was scored early in the 1st half. Silver Stars had to defend throughout the match against a determined First Touch FC. There was drama during the match caused by use of over age players which led to protests. First Touch lodged a protest against Silver Stars for using an over age player but Silver Stars responded with a protest of their own. The Mkhondo LFA disciplinary committee had to sit and discuss the case before the prize giving. The disciplinary committee found both teams guilty of using over age players and the case was thrown out because both teams failed to use a proper team list sheet. The match result was left as it was and the teams fined R100 each. Silver Stars then participated in the prize giving and received their trophy for becoming champions.
The under 15 girls’ division final was playing for the 2nd time in the history of the tournament. The 2021 edition had four teams playing round robin. The top two teams Mkhondo City Stars and Saul Mkhizeville Ladies played in the final. The final was more of a football lesson to newly formed Saul Mkhizeville Ladies club who lost 6-0 in the final against regular participants Mkhondo City Stars (formely known as Hintalo Stars). It was the first time that Saul Mkhizeville Ladies were involved in a big soccer tournament. Beside the big loss the team from Saul Mkhizeville showed signs of brilliance at defence but were overwhelmed by the Mkhondo City Stars girls who are used to playing football.
The under 13 boys’ division final was contested by clubs from Eziphunzini section Golden Stars vs Citizen FC. The highly contested affair finished 2-1 to Citizen FC. The match looked to be in favour of Golden Stars who scored first in the 1st half, at the time Citizen FC was playing with one player short. Tables turned when Citizen fielded the additional player. They equalised shortly after the second half before adding the winner in a short space of time to take the lead. Golden Stars pushed with everything hoping to get the equaliser but the Citizen defence stayed solid until the end.
The 2021 winners of Vumbuka Trust Cup received their prizes on the same day of the tournament. All the winners from the development leagues (U13, U15, & U17) received their prizes for becoming champions. The champions received brand new soccer jerseys, a trophy, medals and match balls as prizes for winning the tournament. The runners up received silver medals, training equipment and match balls, no cash prize was issued to the junior teams. The only junior teams that received cash prizes was that of the Under 15 girls division. The champions received R2500 cash, a new soccer kit, gold medals and a trophy. The runners up receive a cool R1500 cash. The cash given to the winners is aimed at encouraging the development coaches to work with young girls. The Vumbuka Trust trustees insisted that girls’ football be given all the support with the aim of getting more girls to play soccer.
The champions of the ladies division walked away with R4000 cash, a new kit, gold medals, a trophy and match balls for becoming champions. The runners up received R3000 cash, a soccer kit, silver medals and match balls. The men division received the same prizes as that of the ladies except that the champions in men received R5000. The runners up received R3000, a junior kit, silver medals and match balls. The cash prizes were the same as that of the ladies with just a R1000 difference, something that the trustees of Vumbuka Trust have been advocating to the Mkhondo LFA on behalf of ladies football.
Vumbuka Trust also awarded the winners of the Mkhondo Sub LFAs promotion league divisions who participated in the preliminary rounds. Each Mkhondo Sub LFA was allocated an amount of R10 000 which was divided to make up the prizes for the five (5) Sub LFA tournaments. The Sub LFA winners were as follows:
- Amsterdam Sub LFA
1st Arsenal FC (Champs) – R5 000; 2nd: Mswenkofontein FC – R3 000; 3rd: Amabhubesi FC – R1000
- Ngema-Dirkiesdorp Sub LFA
1st Atletico Madrid FC – R5 000; 2nd Mandela Cross FC – R3000; 3rd HiFi FC – R1 000
- Simakade Sub LFA
1st Bayern FC – R5 000; 2nd Juventus FC – R3 000; 3rd Amapansula FC – R1 000
- Siyethemba Sub LFA – Black Lion FC
1st Black Lion FC – R5 000; 2nd SS Madrid FC – R3 000; 3rd Man FC – R1 000
- Thandukukhanya Sub LFA
1st PR Wanderers FC – R5 000; 2nd Ajax Sweepers FC – R3 000; 3rd India Kilo FC – R 1000