THE 14th edition of the Vodacom League National Play-Offs kicked off at a sunbathed Seshego Stadium in Polokwane on Monday. The opening day’s play matched the glorious weather conditions, as local favourites, Baroka FC and Martizburg City entertained the sizeable crowd of spectators with a display of committed, attacking football, laying down a marker for the remaining participants to live up to. The Group A clash finished a goal apiece. Tumelo Tsoganye fired the KZN regional champions into the lead after 23 minutes but after half-time, Baroka stepped up a level and their dominance was rewarded with just over 15 minutes to play when Thabiso Kutumela earned them a share of the spoils with a from close range equaliser.
Group B kicked off in the afternoon, where Roses United, who represent the Free State, beat Gauteng’s Vardos FC 1-0 to take an early lead in the group. After a barren first 45 minutes, Pule Letshabo broke the deadlock three minutes after the restart with a deft volley past Seun Dlamini in the Vardos goal. It proved sufficient to bag the three points, in spite of Vardos’s gallant efforts to restore parity.
“The beautiful weather and enthusiastic support of the people of Polokwane on the opening day have created a positive atmosphere and we anticipate that as the week progresses and the excitement mounts, even more thrills and spills lie ahead,” said Vodacom’s Regional Marketing Manager in Limpopo, Ishmael Hlomane, “Today’s teams have set the standard for what will be required to achieve success in these play-offs,” he added.
The action resumes at Seshego Stadium on Tuesday morning with Batau FC from Mpumalanga facing the Western Cape’s Milano United, followed by Tornado FC (Eastern Cape) vs. Soshanguve Sunshine FC (North West), both in Group B. The afternoon session will see two Group a fixtures, in which Roses United play Morester Jeug FC (Northern Cape) before Vardos FC and Maritzburg City complete the day’s programme.
The official opening ceremony will take place on Wednesday at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.