By AMOGELANG RAMELA
A PLENTY of Shibobo and Tsamaya is expected in the township of Mamelodi outside Tshwane when 18 schools face each other in the annual Metropolitan SASFA Under-16 Cup.
The first two years of the competition which is marking its third year has been a happy hunting for clubs participating in both the National First Division and the Premiership and this year’s edition which is billed for the township of Mamelodi, Tshwane from October 4- 8 is expected to be even more exciting.
With each province to be represented two clubs to complete the tournament to the total of 18 schools, Metropolitan’s brand executive, Belinda Faulkner said they hope to achieve their mandate as sponsors which is to provide a platform for youngsters to showcase their talent while at the same time standing a chance of being scouted by bigger clubs.
“As Metropolitan, we understand that football has become more than just a game as it has seen greater spheres of growth providing the learners so much more. We hope to see more talent unearthed in through this competition and the tournament achieving its main objective of providing a platform for young players to show what they are made off,” said Faulkner.
He sentiments were echoed by Metropolitan’s CEO at Retail, Phillip Matlakala who said development soccer remains an important focus for them as a company, and the fact that they have been supporting soccer for over 20 years is a true reflection of what they are in this regard.
“Integral to our sponsorship is life skills orientation and promotion of a code of conduct aimed at fostering a sense of social responsibility and community empowerment. Moreover, the league’s value of team-work, communication, performance, fun, courage, discipline and respect are essential for developing future champions and role models,” pointed out Matlakala.
The president of the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) which is the umbrella body of all schools competition, Mandla “Shoes”
Mazibuko applauded Metropolitan’s unweaving support for schools competition in their organization.
“We appreciate the support we have been getting from Metropolitan as our sponsors, and promise to go all out in making sure that their support will get the right mileage,” said Mazibuko.
Mazibuko also promised that they will leave no stone unturned in making sure that those who want to ruin the beautiful game by fielding un-properly registered players will be dealt with in a harsh manner.
“We have a good data-base which makes it easy for us to track and trace all the players who have been and who are still part of all the participating school throughout the country, and moreover, we are working hand in hand with both the departments of Home Affairs and Education to monitor the learners movement from one school to another,” explained Mazibuko who also confirmed that most of those who tried to cheat in schools tournament have been suspended while some have had criminal cases opened against them.
This year’s tournament will be played in two venues with the round robin matches taking place in Mamelodi’s Muckleuneck Stadium on October 5 and 6 before moving on to Mamelodi Central Grounds on October 7 and 8.
The round robin format will see the 18 teams pitted against each other in three groups of six teams in each.
Last year’s winners, Rosina Sedibane Modiba Sports School from Atteridgeville, Tshwane have since been drawn in Group A while their runners up, Umqhele from KwaZulu-Natal did not make it in this year’s competition after their rivals, Tisand and Ogwini Comprehensive booked their places in this finals ahead of them.