The 2016 edition of the KZN Premier’s Cup Football Tournament is set to raise the level of competition with the six participating teams looking forward to utilising the tournament to finalise combinations ahead of the new Premiership and National First Division seasons.
The Premier’s Cup – funded by the Department of Sport and Recreation - was officially launched at Coastlands Musgrave Hotel on Friday, 05/08/16, by MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Bongi Sithole-Moloi. The tournament will be held over two days at Umhlathuze Sports Complex in Richards Bay next weekend, 13 and 14 August. It involves six KwaZulu-Natal Teams playing in the National First Division and Premiership ranks.
Last year’s event was played by five teams at the same venue, Lamontville Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United, AmaZulu FC, Thanda Royal Zulu and Royal Eagles - with Maritzburg United emerging winners. The recent promotion of King’s United to the First Division has added the sixth side to the 2016 edition of the Premier’s Cup.
The tournament will start on Saturday, 13/08/16, with the elimination round between the four NFD sides. Royal Eagles will take on Kings United in the first eliminator at 11h30 and Thanda Royal Zulu clash with AmaZulu at 13h00.
The winners of the two matches will join Maritzburg and Arrows in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Speaking at the launch MEC Sithole-Moloi said: “The Department of Sport and Recreation will continue to support every sustainable effort to restore the Province to its glory as the major provider of talent for our professional and national teams. It is for this reason that we are excited to lend a hand in supporting our professional teams to prepare well for the upcoming Premiership and National First Division seasons as part of our contribution to football development.”
Sithole-Moloi said the Department will continue to work with professional clubs and the South African Football Association to develop football in the Province.
“The staging of the KZN Premier’s Cup is one of the platforms that we are utilising to assist our teams to prepare themselves properly. It is also an opportunity for football supporters to see their teams before the start of the new season. We are hopeful that one of the teams from the Province will be promoted in order increase the number of KZN teams playing in the Premiership to three,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of Tournament Patron, Premier Willis Mchunu, his special advisor, Ms Linda Zama urged KwaZulu-Natal teams to revive the passion and dedication that used to be part of football in the Province.
“I have travelled all over the world especially in Africa where there are teams that have nothing in terms of infrastructure and resources compared to what we have. But they perform much better than us. What drives them to do better is the passion, the dedication and enthusiasm towards football. We used to have this in the province. On behalf of the Premier I urge you to revive this spirit that we used to have in this Province,” said Zama – who is a former chairperson of the National Soccer League Disciplinary Committee.
Representatives of the clubs committed themselves to field their strongest teams as they seek to finalise combinations ahead of the 2016/17 season kick-off. There will be no extra-time in all matches. Matches ending in draw will go straight into penalty shootout.
Entry to the games is free on both days. Tickets will be distributed at nearby retail outlets and during community activations that will take place during the week.
MEC Sithole-Moloi urged football fans to come out in their numbers to support their teams. “It is important to support our teams throughout the season. We must not only come to the stadium when they are playing against big Gauteng teams.”