Team SA off to Russia 2018


Milano represented SA at the inaugural CASTLE AFRICA 5's finals in Lusaka, Zambia this past weekend, where they defeated the host team Stout One FC 3-1 in the final held at the Futsal & Sports Complex on Sunday.

Zimbabwe's Dairy Board FC finished third after beating Tanzania's BMM FC 4-1 in their play-off clash, with both sides having lost their respective semi-finals.

The Final started off on an interesting note when the home team took an unexpected lead in the 9th minute, as Doisy Soko's snap-shot rattled the back of the net.

Team SA maintained large chunks of possession in the first half as Kyle Koert, who was later named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, attempted multiple shots on target in a quest to find a equaliser. 

The reward eventually came early in the second half as Koert blasted past the Zambian keeper, before Sibusiso Makhoba and Luciano Van Heerden followed suit to seal tie in favour of SA, and book their tickets to Russia.

This unique tournament has been proclaimed Africa’s biggest five-a-side social tournament, and brings together teams from Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, that have won their respective National Finals, as well as invitational teams – the reigning champions and media select. 

To illustrate the magnitude of the CASTLE AFRICA 5s, the tournament is backed by of one of the World’s greatest athletes from Africa, former Cameroonian National Team striker Samuel Eto’o, who is a four-time recipient of the African Footballer of the Year award and has played in three World Cup finals.

Speaking at the tournament, Eto’o described the opportunity to be a part of the campaign as a privilege and praised Castle Lager for the initiative and the seamlessly executed tournament.

“Castle Africa 5’s is a good investment for the brand. Not only does it provide communities with a rare opportunity to form bonds on the field of play, but I also see it playing a role into the future of African Football," Eto'o said.

"The standard of football I witnessed over the two days was spectacular, and the sportsmanship displayed by the teams was a great foundation to form amazing friendships in and outside the football fields." 

Eto’o headlined a cast of former international footballers that included Zambia’s AFCON-winning captain Christopher Katongo, Brian Baloyi (SA), Lehlohonolo Seema (Lesotho), Tinashe Nengomasha (Zimbabwe), Ivo Mapunda (Tanzania) and Siza Dlamini (Swaziland), who served as mentors for their respective teams in the campaign. 

Castle Lager has sponsored football on the continent for over 60 years, and continues to provide fans with the opportunity to live-out their passion for the beautiful game through this unique and exciting five-a-side tournament.

Castle Lager’s Brand Director, Vaughan Croeser declared the 2018 edition of the Castle Africa 5’s a resounding success, and said Castle Lager’s aims to grow its footprint in the continent through this five-a-side tournament.

“The tournament has been a huge success and Castle Lager has always fortified the bonds of belonging and true friendships. We believe that social football is an ideal platform to sustain these significant societal interactions,” Croser said. 

“We are proud to have introduced this five-a-side tournament, which is a progressive, fast-paced and accessible way to play the beautiful game”.

Hosted by Eto’o himself, Team SA, along with Baloyi, will be enjoying the sights in Russia from the 24 – 28 June 2018.