The tournament that has been entertaining the football-loving community of Soweto for the past two decades, continued to showcase the community’s finest talent while also playing a key role in grassroots football development. The 2016/2017 edition of the tournament has been no different as it was filled with flair and goals galore in front of capacity crowds, including the unique minute-by-minute match commentary by budding commentators on the sidelines. Such has been the popularity of the football that the KwaMahlobo Games saw a record 16,000 spectators flock to the grounds to watch the exciting Last 16 ties last Friday.
Battling it out to be champions are four teams. Three are local sides from Meadowlands, namely Gazaville FC, Meadowlands Academy owned by Bafana Bafana and SuperSport United midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane, and Meadowlands All Stars. These three are joined in the semi-finals by tournament favourites Braamfischer Eagles from Braamfischer township in Soweto. With all four all sides well-drilled, possessing quality players and confident in their style of play, the semi-final ties promise to provide thrill-a-minute entertainment.
Partners for this 20th edition of the Games, LaLiga have been pleased with what they witnessed in Soweto. “We are passionate about football. We absolutely love the beautiful game and are glad to have contributed to grassroots football in this country through this wonderful tournament. What we witnessed during the tournament be it the shibobos, tsamayas and colourful fans, showcased that authenticity and the unique nature of township football is similar to the Spanish League. We wish the four teams all the best for the remaining matches and may the best team win,” said Antonio Barradas, Africa Director at LaLiga.
Spectators are urged to attend the final day of the three-week long tournament that consistently produces new stars, heroes and quality footballers that will one day make it to the professional set up. Entrance to the KwaMahlobo grounds in Zone 10 Meadowlands, is free.
Some of the stars that made their name at the KwaMahlobo Games include Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala, Letsholonyane and Thuso Phala of SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits midfielder Sifiso Myeni, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Teko Modise of Mamelodi Sundowns, Sibusiso Mazibuko (ex-Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates midfielder), Excellent Walaza, who was on the books of Orlando Pirates, and Sipho Moeti from Baroka FC just to name a few.
Kenza Football Club (KFC), who are not partaking in this 20th edition of the tournament, were crowned champions in 2015, while Naledi Juventus won it in 2014.
09am: Meadowlands All Stars vs Gazzaville FC
11am: Meadowlands Academy vs Braamfischer Eagles
Final: To kick off at 3:30pm
Prize Money for the KwaMahlobo Games:
• Winners – R100, 000, Trophy, 22 medals and soccer kit
• Runners up – R20, 000, Trophy, 22 medals and soccer kit
• 3rd/4th Place – R5, 000 per team