The younger siblings of Nkonjaneni, Junior United FC have the bragging rights after defeating their older brothers in the final of Protea Car Wash tournament on Monday 17 June 2019 at Eziphunzini Ground, Thandukukhanya, eMkhondo. The much anticipated match between the two rival teams United Brothers FC and Junior United FC both from Nkonjaneni just outside Thandukukhanya, ended on penalties after they played a goalless yet entertaining match.
There was uncertainty as to whether Qomu will play or not after he was violently taken off the field during the quarter finals on Saturday. At kick off United Brothers were stopped from using Qomu Sangweni after his family members who included his mother made it clear that he can only play for Junior United FC. He sat out on the bench of United Brothers encouraging the team during the match. Junior United club owner Themba ‘Kisky’ Kunene said he will release the player’s clearance if he is compensated with two match balls and some cash before the start of the league season in August. United Brothers said they want the player released from Junior United so they can send him to clubs in the ABC Motsepe League.
It is a tricky situation for United Brothers FC, they will have to pay for his release otherwise the ABC Motsepe League clubs must talk directly to Junior United, the holders of the player’s clearance. United Brothers borrowed Citizen Goalkeeper Nhlakanipho ‘17’ Vilakazi, Ntando from Total Football United FC and Flymingo United FC duo of Mambush and Mthoko in the line-up. Junior United FC had their regular players who finished in the top 4 of Thandukukhanya Promotion League stream B last season. They fielded Citizen FC left winger Scelo (18) whom they intend to sign next season.
The rivalry on the field of play was fair with both set of players having respect for each other. There were no flying tackles from both teams during the game. The match referee Scelo Shabangu issued only three yellow cards in the match, all in the 2nd half. The game was flowing but there were few chances in the first half which was dominated by Junior United FC. United Brothers played better in the 2nd half creating chances but the tight young defenders stood firm. The narrowness of the Eziphunzini Ground made defending easy for both set of defenders as all the attacks came direct in the middle with both teams failing to use wings to attack.
The match finished 0-0 but it did not end in a good way after an incident involving fans and assistant referee threatened the success of the tournament. A section of fans belonging to United Brothers threw an object which hit an assistant referee with less than 5 minutes left for the match to end. The assistant referee Tau put his flag down and left the field. The match referee stopped the match and consulted with the tournament officials who instructed the referee to end the match with penalties to avoid chaos. If the match was officially sanctioned by the Mkhondo Local Football Association (MKLFA), it would have been a different matter. Kudos to match referee Scelo Shabangu for handling the situation as well. The lottery of penalties began with both sets of fans confident of a win.
The players were very nervous, the lamb meat was simply irresistible to be missed via a penalty shootout. Junior United FC had the most luck and blessings coming from the woman brigade of supporters who shouted support until the end. They converted 4 out of 5 penalties compared to the three by United Brothers FC to win the Protea Tournament final.
United Brothers collected their medals and left immediately at the prize giving choosing not to see their young rivals lift the trophy and the sheep. They also did not witness the prize giving which included top goal scorer prize won by Mlee of Izilwane for scoring six (6) goals in the tournament. Junior United dribbling wizard Mzwandile ‘General’ Simelane won player of the tournament. The biggest winners was Junior United FC. They walked away with gold medals, a trophy, a sheep and R1600 cash prize plus the bragging rights.